January 20, 2017

Delegate Villanueva and Senator Frank Wagner in Partnership with Secretary Aubrey Layne Negotiate Norfolk Right of Way Repayment Solution for City of Virginia Beach

RICHMOND, Virginia –  Delegate Ron Villanueva and Senator Frank Wagner have negotiated with Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne a financial remedy for the City of Virginia for the Norfolk Southern Right-of-Way.  Should the Virginia Beach City Council accept the terms of a new prescriptive easement designating that the corridor will be used for future high capacity transportation.

In 2010, the Commonwealth and the City of Virginia Beach entered into an agreement setting forth terms of a $20 million Transportation Opportunity Fund Grant.  With the purchase of the Norfolk Southern ROW, the corridor was to be used intermodal transportation solutions.  Last year, the voters through referendum rejected the extension of Light Rail from Norfolk to Virginia Beach Town Center.  With this outcome, Virginia Beach would be required to pay back the TPOF Grant. For the 2017 Virginia General Assembly Session, House Transportation Chairman Ron Villanueva and Senator Frank Wagner introduced bills addressing this issue.

“The solution for future high capacity transportation solutions protects this vital transportation corridor.  With new technology and innovation, our citizens will have better options of using more feasible and cost effective alternatives than the ones that exist today,” said Chairman Ron Villanueva.

“We are pleased that this property is still available to the City of Virginia Beach for any number of potential transportation projects without any further costs to the citizens,” said Senator Frank Wagner.

“This is a win-win for both the City of Virginia Beach and the Commonwealth, because we preserve the corridor and support their future transportation needs.  I appreciate Governor Terry McAuliffe, Mayor Will Sessoms, and members of the General Assembly working in partnership,” said Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne.

Virginia Beach City Council will have to meet and discuss the prescriptive easement at their next City Council meeting and provide clear direction as to whether or not they want this solution.  Both Delegate Ron Villanueva and Senator Frank Wagner (HB 2021 and SB1396) have introduced legislative bills addressing this issue.