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County to file lawsuit against Virginia to challenge use of public funds for NS intermodal terminal


The board of supervisors in Montgomery County, Va., recently announced plans to launch a legal proceeding against the commonwealth to challenge the use of public monies to help fund Norfolk Southern Corp.'s Roanoke Region Intermodal Facility in Elliston.

Earlier this month, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) issued a notice to proceed to NS, authorizing the railroad to begin building the intermodal terminal along the Heartland Corridor. The authorization ended a long regional debate about the site for the new terminal. The Board of Supervisors have passed three resolutions since 2006 opposing the Elliston site.

The lawsuit, which currently is being drafted, will challenge the constitutionality and validity of using "tens of millions" of taxpayer dollars to build a private intermodal rail facility, county officials said.

"We are extremely disappointed that the state has chosen to move ahead with the Ellison site despite the county's strong opposition," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Annette Perkins in a prepared statement. The state has ignored our concerns about the harm to our quality of life and environment, increased traffic and other negative impacts such a facility would have on the rural character of the village of Elliston."

County officials would back a plan to locate the facility in a "place where it would be welcome and consistent with the locality's land use and economic development plans," she said.