NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Hampton Roads Transit is getting just under $2 million from the federal government to study extending light rail to Naval Station Norfolk.
"We are restricted by our bridges, our tunnels, and the infrastructure on our roads," HRT Transit Development Officer Julie Timm said. "We need to find a way to have options to get off the road if they need to."
For 15 months, HRT will study if the Tide is the best option to ease traffic congestion in and around Naval Station Norfolk.
"What we're looking at is any reasonable path that could be 12 or 15 different routes. We are going
to narrow it down from there," Timm said.
HRT officials say $2 million is needed because they have to examine a lot, including where to build new terminal stations as well as paying for public comment meetings.
"We have to look at traffic along the area," Timms said. "We also have to look at what the impact to traffic is going, because a lot of these routes will likely road or could likely run in roads or adjacent to roads.
The study will also look at the light rail's impact on the environment.
"We will narrow what the environmental constraints are," Timms said. "We will look at whether there are wetlands in some of the areas or if bridges are over some."
In comparison, the study to look at taking the light rail to Virginia Beach cost more $6 million.
Once this study is complete, HRT will have to secure funding for other phases in the study. This process is required if the agency wants to continue getting federal dollars for the project.
Naval Station Norfolk is Hampton Roads' largest employer. It's estimated that 80,000 vehicles go in and out of the base daily.
"You can sit in traffic from 45 minutes to an hour and a half on any morning," driver James Boles said.
"It takes me probably about a little over an hour just to get to work," driver Dorothea Marshall said.
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