NRV Amtrak bills on track to governor
Lawmakers gave final approval to legislation to create a passenger rail authority in the New River Valley as part of a plan to extend Amtrak passenger rail service to Christiansburg.
The bills from Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke, and Del. Chris Hurst, D-Montgomery, are on their way to the governor’s desk. The authority would include representatives from several localities and universities in the New River Valley to share the cost of building and maintaining a train station.
The House of Delegates and Senate are still negotiating over how much state funding to include in the budget to support the goal of getting a train to the New River Valley and a second train for the Roanoke stop. The House budget includes $50 million, which is what Northam proposed, while the Senate wants to increase that funding to $137 million.
The state is in the middle of negotiations with Norfolk Southern Corp., but transportation officials said the effort could cost about $200 million.
Closing carbon-emitting units
The General Assembly sent legislation to the governor that would require owners of carbon-emitting power plants to give notice to localities of pending closures.
Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, who sponsored the Senate bill, said as the Virginia Clean Economy Act shifts the commonwealth toward green energy, these power plants will close over the next few decades. Those plants provide jobs and local tax revenue, and he said it’s important that localities are prepared for when they’re about to close.