NORFOLK -- Wednesday night will be the first of three meetings on mass transit service to Naval Station Norfolk.

HRT said in April that an engineering firm had been hired to conduct the Naval Station Norfolk Transit Extension Study.

The study, to be conducted by HDR Engineering will determine which mode of transportation, light rail or expanded bus service, would a better solution for a high-capacity mass transit link to the world's largest naval base.

The project will evaluate the path the rail line or bus routes would take and is intended to guide HRT and City of Norfolk planners in their decisions.

HRT says a high capacity transit line to the base has long been of interest to regional planners, as well as commuters who must endure clogged interstates daily.

80,000 vehicles enter and exit the base daily, according to the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.

HRT says the study will take 15 months and will be paid for by federal and state funding. It is the first year of a multi-year federal study process necessary if Norfolk is to receive federal construction dollars.

Tonight's meeting will be held tonight at Blair Middle School. The two others, also this month, are Mondaym June 17 at Granby High School and Wednesday, June 19 at the Hilton Norfolk Airport. All meetings start at 6 p.m.

HRT says the Norfolk study is not related to the project to extend The Tide into Virginia Beach. A formal draft environmental statement on that project is expected to be released in early 2014.

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