Hampton Roads Light Rail Extension Progress and Source Material Comment Thread Analysis

A few of us here at ratpag are from Hampton Roads / Tidewater / Norfolk / Virginia Beach, VA and, so, we enjoy keeping tabs on where we grew up and the progress of its inhabitants.  Many of those very inhabitants drove us away from the area, as we’ll analyze in a minute, but we do like to see the good work done by those brave souls who remain.

We’d like to begin by thanking Virginia Beach mayor Will Sessoms who, as wavy.com reports, announced that “we have a firm commitment from Governor McAuliffe and Transportation Secretary Aubrey Lane to help with the funding we need to bring light rail into Virginia Beach.”  Huzzah!  This is the kind of leadership and enthusiasm that ratpag can throw its support behind (and we will be there for you come election time, Mr. Mayor).  Public transportation needs leaders like Will Sessoms to fight past the criticism, setbacks, and mixed messages like “neither Governor McAuliffe nor Secretary Layne has committed to any light rail project yet,” as reported by WAVY soon after the announcement.

On that note, we move on to neighboring Norfolk who is getting stuff done.  Norfolk already has a light rail thanks to Mayor-for-Life Paul Fraim and is looking to expand its starter line to one of the most congested, under-served-by-transit parts of the city – Naval Station Norfolk.  Wavy.com reports that Hampton Roads Transit, the Tide light rail system’s operator, is holding workshops with the public to discuss how best to connect downtown and the naval base.  Below is a nice map featuring various alternatives for routing trains through the city to which we say:  build them all.

Lauren-Compton-previews-HRT-light-rail-workshops

The people who actually went to the workshops seem to like the idea of light rail expansion to a lot of places, which is great.  If you went only by wavy.com (and, to be fair, pilotonline.com) commenters you’d be apt to think that nobody wants light rail, which would be sad.  These were the types of mentalities that drove some of your ratpaggers away, because we’re weak, but we do really support and hope for the light rail to continue growing and expanding.

In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the cronyism conspiracies of user bobclaville fearing “The Mayor made a deal with TERRY” and “Anyone remember what I said shortly after TERRY got the Mayor to SELL HIS SOUL for lite rail?”  Yes, yes, of course we remember, bobclaville, of course.  User TiredOfTheNewsIMeanREALLYtired predicts that “every man, woman, and child of VB will have to ride it almost 3000 times just to break even.”  TiredOfTheNewsIMeanREALLYtired hasn’t yet returned our phone calls regarding what exact time line he was working off but we at ratpag are with him in his hope for 100% ridership along the route.

But now we’re getting petty.  We look forward to the growth of the light rail and subsequent ALL CAPS comments disparaging it.

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