$6.5M Transit Center Now $11M

When the transit center was approved, it required $6.5M in federal transportation funds. Last June the price went up to $10.5M, and last night Council voted to obtain another $400,000 in state and federal funding for the project, John Yellig reports in today’s Daily Progress. The price increase comes from a combination of design changes, weak soil, and the discovery of abandoned fuel storage tanks and old storm sewers on the site. Councilor Rob Schilling voted against requesting the funding, with Councilor Kendra Hamilton saying that doing so would prevent the building from being finished, which isn’t an option.

Walking by there yesterday, it looked like the digging is done and the bulk of the cement for the foundation and the walls had been poured. It looks a lot smaller than I thought it would — I don’t think it’ll be as out of scale for the area as I thought it might be, though the amphitheater and the huge new building on Fifth and Water have set an entirely new scale for the area in the past year.

12 thoughts on “$6.5M Transit Center Now $11M”

  1. Personally, I think our city government has made a mess of the downtown mall. The Pavillion is ugly and a noise hazard and lacks the charm of its predecessor. The transit center has been nothing but a headache for the city during construction and its utility once finished is still widely questioned. And now city council is about to cave to a group of East End merchants and allow a vehicle crossing on the Mall right near the Discovery (children’s) Museum. Much of the blame for these developments (and also for the crisis in the city school leadership last year) can reasonably be placed at the feet of our city council under former mayor Maurice Cox. Maybe I am being overly dyspeptic, but I liked the downtown mall the way it was five years ago. I am not pleased with how it has changed.

  2. Isn’t this the kind of thing that should have been addressed earlier in the process?

    switching to bricks instead of using asphalt, added $70,000 to the project cost,

    At some point, shouldn’t the government say “no more”?

    Where is the good news on this project? (That’s a serious question)

  3. WCAV is reporting tonight that the City of Charlottesville has only spent $130,000 of its own money on the Transit Center while “the government” is footing the rest of the bill.

    Out of curiosity (and I should probably know this, being a City Council candidate and all), but when did City government become a non-governmental organization?

    I was one of many who opposed the East End redevelopment project (loss of Amphitheater, loss of green space, loss of parking, loss of 7th Street crossing, construction of expensive new facilities of questionable utility), but now it’s nearing completion and I agree with Kendra Hamilton that we’ve got to get the job done (hopefully without any more cost increases).

    On a side note….This is by no means a phenomenon that’s isolated to Charlottesville, but it irks me when I hear local officials say, in effect, ‘This federally-subsidized project — (Transit Center, Meadowcreek Parkway Interchange, you name it) — is a good deal for our City because it’s hardly costing us a dime.’ But the reality is, it IS costing us. City residents pay a lot more in federal taxes than we do in local taxes, and it’s our children and our grandchildren who are going to be saddled with the $9,000,000,000,000 in federal debt that we’ve carelessly racked up for them.

    That’s not to say we should turn down any & all “government” funds for projects in our City, but it is to say that federal money is not free money & we must be just as judicious in its use as we are (or should be) of local tax revenues.

  4. I’m very curious: how do tax revenues from the downtown area compare with these costs. I thoroughly enjoy the mall – to the point I’d be willing to see it as a break even proposal – but I can’t see the city subsidizing businesses just so that they stay. In the end, I’d rather just let downtown dissappear and dry up, and let whatever is viable move in. In this case, it’s questionable whether the transfer station was even something downtown businesses (I lump all commercial real estate occupants into this category) even wanted.

    I’m not very happy about the crossings, but recognize that there is a real need for a way to easily circumnavigate the mall (either through crossings or otherwise) – and right now it’s a nightmare, especially for out of town folks.

    I agree: this is Architect Cox’s legacy. It is attractive, but not practical. These cost over-runs are not in the least surprising…everything works out this way. The Omni (Frank Buck’s baby) was the same way. And we spent way too much money on that, subsidizing it for years.

  5. Cost overruns? With a government construction project? I’ll bet nobody saw that coming

  6. Once more the City has screwed up. The Great White Eyesore aka Charlottesville Pavilion, and now the transit center cost overruns. A “transit center” that I have yet to see how will help bus riders. Why not spend transit money on more routes,more efficient routes, Sunday service, etc. Transfer here so you can ride all around Robin Hood’s barn to get where you need to go?
    Woul love to see a coalition of Republicans, Independents,and disaffected Democrats sweep out the current City Hall lot!
    By the way, I voted for Tim Kaine last year, John Kerry in 2004, Mark Warner in 2001. But I will vote for Rob Schilling in May,and only him.

  7. Beg to differ: the transit center is primarily David Toscano’s legacy. He worked on promoting it even after he left council.

    I agree with Dave Norris re governement spending and even said so in so many words during the long ramp-up to the east end development. If the local guys don’t act as good stewards towards all tax spending that flows through their hands, then they’re not acting as good stewards period.

    Can’t possibly agree with Hollow Boy: I find myself constitutionally incapable to voting for a “dinkwad”.

  8. For starters, the DP got the cost wrong in its initial article and issued a correction the next day. Most of that cost was for 7th street work, bricking the mall and utility work. In reference to all the Council bashing that is going on, give them a break. They get virtually nothing for what they do and in my experience they usually always have the best interests of the city in mind. I worked for the city for many years and we spent way too much energy placating these politically placed jerks and it was the biggest waste of government money I saw. It is usually a few politically influenced citizens who have made everything about spreading gossip and falsehoods because they are unwilling to accept an opinion other than theirs. Watch city council on tv for a few times and you will see a group of four or five that have nothing better to do than write speeches and spout unsubstantiated and false figures because they can without being challenged. And all too often blogging sites pick up this crap and treat it as gospel. Any city government has it’s shortcomings. Just try to live in an environment that acknowledges what is right and try to fix what you feel is wrong. The city council candidate should take his run a bit more seriously and spend less time bitching on this site and more time coming up with campaign signs to replace Schilling. After all he is going to have to work with these people if he wins.

  9. And all too often blogging sites pick up this crap and treat it as gospel.

    What blogging sites are you referring to?

    I get my information from the press. If there are other blogs that use information provided by the folks who tend to talk before Council (I assume that’s what you mean by “group of four or five that have nothing better to do than write speeches and spout unsubstantiated and false figures because they can without being challenged”), I can’t actually think of any. Heck, I can hardly think of any local blogs that talk about C’ville politics at all.

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