Federal Transit Administrator James S. Simpson today announced an additional $18.9 million in fiscal year 2008 federal funds to keep The Tide, Norfolk’s light rail project, moving forward.
“The Federal Transit Administration is dedicated to the success of this project,” Simpson said. “In fact, we are so dedicated that we found $18.9 million in unallocated federal money that we are bringing to the table today.”
Last year, Simpson signed a full funding grant agreement that committed the federal government to provide $128 million for the project through 2010. The agreement allocated $57 million to the project for fiscal year 2008, but that amount was trimmed to $23 million during appropriations. Today’s grant restores some of what was cut in the federal budget process, bringing FTA’s contribution to the project to $75.7 million to date.
Simpson was joined by Congresswoman Thelma Drake (R-VA), Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) President and CEO Michael S. Townes to tour the Harbor Park construction site of the light rail line.
The Tide is a 7.4 mile system that runs from the Eastern Virginia Medical Center, east through downtown Norfolk to Norfolk State University, and continues along the Norfolk Southern right-of-way adjacent to I-264, to Newtown Road.
The $232.1 million project includes 11 stations, three new park-and-ride structures, a maintenance facility, and the purchase of nine rail vehicles. HRT plans to begin operating the line in early 2010, with service at seven-and-a-half minute intervals during peak periods. The Tide will serve between 6,000 and 12,000 riders per day.