Two days before a remade Hampton Roads Transit governing board is supposed to meet for its first monthly meeting, Governor Bob McDonnell still hasn't appointed new citizen commissioners who will make up about half of the panel.
HRT's governing board - the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads - has for years been comprised of two elected representatives from each member locality, a representative each from the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates and a representative from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.
Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation intended to remake the board, ostensibly in light of past problems with massive cost overruns and mismanagement associated with a previous administration's handling of the construction of Norfolk's light rail starter line that was completed in August, 2011.
The legislation removed state legislators - who were notorious for not showing up for meetings - from the board and eliminated one elected leader from each locality so that the governor could appoint citizen representatives. The DRPT position is to remain unchanged.
The problem is the HRT board is scheduled to meet July 26. It was to be the first meeting with citizen representatives. Without new appointiees, the boad could be short of a quorum needed to conduct business. That is, unless outgoing board members attend despite the fact June's meeting was to be their last.
In an email response to an inquiring about the governor's time line for making the appointments, McDonnell spokesman Jeff Caldwell said HRT board appointments will be announced "shortly."
New HRT board chairman Rick West, a Chesapeake City Councilman, said he expected the outgoing commissioners would return at least for the July meeting.
"This meeting won't have a lot of meat, except what we have to do," West said. "I've encouraged all members in these positions to attend Thursday. I fully expect it will be their last meeting."
West said he believes McDonnell is "real close" to making the appointments.
"I've heard through the grapevine that some people have been contacted," he said.