Got air conditioning? This afternoon's meeting of the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (TDCHR) didn't, which probably helped hold the public portion of the meeting in Hampton to about 55 minutes.
You obviously want the light rail news. As you probably already know, service begins on August 19, with fares first charged on August 22. HRT President Phillip Shucet rode a test train himself last night, and noted that all safety systems were working correctly. He thanked the City of Norfolk traffic engineering, who had a big role in getting things done this quickly. The $10 million unallocated contingency fund will be unneeded. (Norfolk has wanted to put it towards their local share.)
You'll love this: there was an issue with a contractor's work. The contractor said correcting it would require an $80k study and $500k-$2 million in construction. HRT staff bought the materials and fixed it themselves for $30k.
Pat Woodberry of Newport News was elected TDCHR Chairperson for FY 2012, with Rick West of Chesapeake Vice Chairman. They assume office on July 1.
11 months through FY 2011, HRT is $1.48 million under Budget.
HRT will move into the new administration building in Norfolk in February, 2012. (Please, get us out of the old Cadillac dump!)
Three contracts were awarded today:
1. A new Patrick Henry Transfer Center will be built in Newport News on Roger Brown Drive, adjacent to the Mall. It will put the TC on City of Newport News (rather than Mall) property, and give bus riders improved restroom access.
2. A Federal grant will be utilized to put shelters at an additional 200 bus stops, doubling the number of stops with them. In addition, some cities are putting together their own shelter programs.
3. A new contract for external auditor. The second lowest bidder was chosen, as recommended by staff, the Operations & Oversight Committee, and the Budget & Audit Committee. The lowest bidder had no experience at such, their proposed team was too small and inexperienced, and their bid was based on far too few hours to get the job done right. Therefore, the judgement was that the low bidder didn't grasp the scope of the project. After a lengthy discussion, the contract was approved.
No, it's not utopia at HRT. During the final nine days of May, the number of customer complaints was 251 above that for the same period in 2010. That was primarily due to a service board change on May 22 (board changes normally produce complaint spikes), and the operational impact from the move from the Ford plant back to 18th Street.
The TDCHR then went into closed session to discuss a personnel matter.