Kaine signs I-81 rail-study bill

Governor Tim Kaine had said that he would sign legislation outlining plans for rail options on the Interstate 81 corridor into law– and he has finally made good on that promise.

"I am pleased that Governor Kaine supports the General Assembly's passage of HB 1581," said Rockbridge Republican Delegate Ben Cline, the sponsor of House Bill 1581, which will require a comprehensive study of the impact of the use of intermodal rail on long-haul, through-truck freight traffic on I-81 in Western Virginia.

The bill was at the top of the wish list for the Emory-based group called Rail Solution - whose executive director, David Foster, worked with Cline on the language of the legislation.

Rail advocates say that the Virginia Department of Transportation needs to look more seriously at options for improving rail lines along the I-81 corridor as it considers what to do to improve traffic flows on the highway.

"By signing this legislation, the governor recognizes the importance of developing a plan that will address safety and congestion issues through the use of rail and intermodal transportation along I-81," Cline said.

"I look forward to working with the secretary of transportation, interested parties such as Rail Solution, and the Rail Advisory Board to implement the provisions of the bill," Cline said.

- By Chris Graham

3 comments

Good news but only a start. As population and related needs expand, infrastructure corridors must be designated and created; encompassing not only truck and rail ways but also major power lines, water and waste lines, fuel lines and communication lines; running alongside one another such that they are not scattered helter skelter, as they are now.

Good news but only a start. As population and related needs expand, infrastructure corridors must be designated and created; encompassing not only truck and rail ways but also major power lines, water and waste lines, fuel lines and communication lines; running alongside one another such that they are not scattered helter skelter, as they are now.

While I am all for the rail options, what are the disadvantages of putting all of our important infrastructure eggs in the same basket. What happens if a fuel truck or rail car explodes? Does it take out the power, sewer and water? Sometimes "inefficient" distributed services are better.

That is a good point, Bill.