Deputy Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan today participated in the opening of Virginia's first light rail transit system, Tide Light Rail, which will improve access to jobs and numerous educational, medical and entertainment destinations in downtown Norfolk. She joined Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, Norfolk city Mayor Paul D. Fraim and Virginia transportation officials at the opening.
"The Obama Administration is making good on its promise to strengthen transportation connections and infrastructure across the nation," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We're giving residents of the Hampton Roads region greater access to jobs and vital services with more transportation choices and an affordable alternative to paying high gas prices."
"As the citizens of Norfolk and the Hampton Roads region will soon discover, when light rail comes to town, wonderful things happen," said Deputy Administrator McMillan. "New housing, retail and business opportunities spring up in neighborhoods served by new transit routes, traffic congestion declines and household transportation costs go down."
The 7.4 mile Tide Light Rail serves 11 stations between downtown Norfolk and Interstate 264, one of the region's most heavily traveled corridors. The system is operated by Hampton Roads Transit and connects to an extensive network of bus routes that serve a population of 1.3 million in Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach.
The Federal Transit Administration approved a $232 million Full Funding Grant Agreement for the project in October 2007. An additional $32.8 million in federal funds and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helped complete the project.