Downtown section of light rail $14.7 million over budget

Several years ago, H.R.T. came to a meeting of the Greater Wards Corner Partnership asking for our support of light rail for Norfolk. We were promised that the second leg of light rail would run through the Wards Corner Business District with a light rail station at the Wards Corner H.R.T. Bus Transfer Station. The Partnership gave its overwhelming support for the light rail project.

For light rail ridership to be successful, lateral bus lines must be near a rail station. Wards Corner would be a natural. Now, we hear that the second leg of light rail will take a different route to the Naval Base; most likely from downtown, past ODU along a Hampton Boulevard route to the Naval Base.

Today, Pilot Online reports that the downtown section of the light rail project is $14.7 million over budget. There is only $29 million in contingency dollars for these kind of events. The downtown section has already eaten up half of the contingency money. Councilman Randy Wright is Council’s representave to H.R.T. Please email him at if you are concerned about this overage.


3 Responses to Downtown section of light rail $14.7 million over budget

  1. Tim Smith says:

    Who would of thought this project could go over budget????
    Please tell me were the money is going to come from to buy the right-of-way along Hampton Blvd when we already own the right-of-way down the center of Granby Street.
    Maybe the Federal Government needs to get more involved to see how their money is being mismanaged.
    The $14 m is probably to help NSU pay for all the “wish list” items they want.
    I would e-mail Randy if I thought it would do any good, remember Randy is the one that kept us from getting a NET bus in Wards Corner.
    The Tide riders can see the MagLev train that doen’t work each time they go past ODU. It sounds like Norfolk expects the students at ODU to support the Tide cause the Navy workers can go through Wards Corner just as easy.
    Add that to another promise broken for Wards Corner. I think they are running 5 to 1 now. Winn is in for an uphill battle if he plans to follow through with his promises for Wards Corner.
    It’s hard to be positive when you have be beat down so often, lets see more action and less talk from our leaders.

  2. Elyse Kalfus says:

    I remember just a few months ago, sitting in a Greater Wards Corner task force meeting. Don Williams made a promise to the people then that the next leg of the lightrail system would extend out through Wards Corner to the Naval Base and Ocean View because the track right of way is already there, NOT DOWN HAMPTON BLVD!

  3. Eric Heard says:

    Well, I certainly have a great deal of respect for the two individuals who have commented on this issue but I do have to express my vision of the light rail and what it can do to unite the entire Hampton Roads area.

    Firstly, I would love to see the light rail come down Granby Street but lets face it, Wards Corner is not a destination spot as of yet.

    Secondly, if we just take a look at the data that represents the link to the Norfolk Naval Station, we would see that even in the beginning, without the buy in from Virginia Beach, the light rail has the potential of servicing NSU, with 6000 students, Norfolk Olde Towne, with about 12,000 workers, ODU, with approximately 25,000 students and finally the Naval base with about 130,000 full time employees.

    With this new direction of HRT to the Naval Base via Hampton Blvd, the opportunities for growth in Norfolk is at its best. For example, NSU could increase its size to 12000 students, Broad Creek would reach its potential, the area surrounding NSU would become more desireable and shops and businesses would follow, Norfolk, Olde Towne is alredy preparing itself for humongous growth with modern office space, cruise terminal, Nauticus, Opera House, museums, gorgeous churches, excellent restaurants, exciting clubs, and beautiful new high rise and low rise housing both leased and privately owned, Lamberts Point could also realize its potential as a community shared by old and new residents, ODU would continue to grow as is planned, stress for additional parking and additional student residences could be minimized and finally, the reduction of traffic with the destination of the Naval Base would be amazing.

    Lets not stop at the Naval Base, lets get this HRT light rail across the pond into Hampton, Newport News, all the way to Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, Yorktown, Richmond, and into Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk and very important, Virginia Beach.

    If the Hampton Roads is to take its rightful place as a potential World Class Destination City, the light rail, the trains and the airport will have to make certain changes. These changes must be orchestrated by our civic leagues, our business associations, our our elected officials both city wide and state wide, and most surely at the Federal level.

    With the cooperation of all of the locations mentioned , the potential of the HRT is to move over 750,000 people.

    Incidentally, this is not a sermon, and I apologize, but this is my vision of Norfolk. I expect that Councilpersons Wright, Winn, Hester, Wibley and Williams will lead this area into the 22nd century, not the 21st


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