Montgomery to appeal intermodal decision to Virginia Supreme Court

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The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors will continue to fight construction of a Norfolk Southern intermodal rail yard in Elliston.

The board announced it will appeal a lower court’s ruling in favor of the facility, asking the Virginia Supreme Court to review its suit.

Montgomery supervisors say the intermodal yard, where containers would be transferred between trucks and railroad cars, will bring increased traffic and pollution to the region. They argue that the plan does not fit their county zoning laws or comprehensive plan and will ruin the scenic area.

In their lawsuit, the supervisors contend that state money cannot be used to build a private facility.

“The board of supervisors knew going into this effort to protect the county against unwanted development that the decision would be likely made by the Virginia Supreme Court,” Annette Perkins, chairwoman of the board said in statement. “While disappointed by the lower court ruling, we believe that the issues at stake are very important and need to be addressed by Virginia’s highest court. The state should not subsidize bad projects with taxpayer dollars for a private corporation’s benefit.”

The supervisors estimate that the appeal will cost the county $50,000. It spent $175,293 on the initial lawsuit.

The intermodal facility is part of Norfolk Southern’s $309 million Heartland Corridor project, which will take a day off travel time for double-stacked container trains between the Port of Virginia and Chicago. The railroad is raising tunnel clearances to allow for the taller trains.

A Richmond Circuit Court judge said public money could be used for the project because it served the public and was part of Virginia’s plan to improve its transportation system.

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