The Tide Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Norfolk, VA

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8/18/2011

"Remarks as Prepared for Delivery"

REMARKS FOR
THERESE MCMILLAN, FTA
THE TIDE RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY
NORFOLK, VA

On behalf of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff, I’m thrilled to join you today to celebrate the inauguration of Virginia’s first light rail system.

I want to thank Congressman SCOTT for supporting FTA’s investments in good transportation choices for the region.

I also want to thank Mayor FRAIM, THELMA DRAKE with the Virginia DOT and local council members for contributing to the success of this project.

As the residents of Norfolk and the Hampton Roads region will soon discover, when light rail comes to town, wonderful things happen:

  • Property values rise.
  • New housing, retail, and business opportunities spring up in neighborhoods served by new transit routes.
  • Traffic congestion declines.

And household transportation costs go down, as transit riders are able to spend far less at the gas pump.

Beginning officially, on Monday, many of you will begin to experience these benefits first-hand.

As workers head out to Norfolk Southern and other jobs downtown, as students attending Old Dominion or Norfolk State University head to campus, as people head out to the Eastern Virginia Medical Complex, and as seniors and people with disabilities head out for the day, they can all count on a reliable, affordable alternative to driving, thanks to the seamless connections between light rail and bus service.

The Tide is truly a win-win for Norfolk and the region.

FTA is proud to be your partner in this project.

Together, FTA and DOT contributed roughly 60 percent the total cost, including a $10 million boost from the Recovery Act, which helped this project reach the finish line.

This funding commitment is the reason we’re standing here today.

The Tide Light Rail system is a great example of what we can achieve when the federal government and local communities work together on a vision for a sustainable future.

It’s a great example of how our government returns taxpayer dollars back to the community – to invest in projects reflecting your local priorities, needs, and interests.

I congratulate all of you on taking the first step to enhance transportation choices for this vibrant and growing region.

We at FTA look forward to working with you in the future, as you create a vision for regional public transportation that will further improve the quality of life for Norfolk and all of Hampton Roads.

Thank you.

I’m really looking forward to a chance to Ride the Tide!

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