General Assembly 2003 and Beyond - TDX Making Headway - TransDominion Express


General Assembly 2003 and Beyond – TDX Making Headway

Over the past several months The Committee to Advance the TransDominion Express has been working so furiously on important related issues that there has barely been time to relate it. Many good things are happening, and more finite solutions are being found in the process.

TDX established and enhanced strategic alliances during the 2003 General Assembly, working closely with Director Karen Rae and her team from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (VDRPT). Your representation was directly involved in the rewriting of both Senate Bill 1279 & Senate Joint Resolution 354. The bill and resolution were sponsored by Senator John Edwards (D) of Roanoke. SB 1279 & SJR 354 were introduced to create a statewide Rail Authority and feasibility study, intended to facilitate the growth of modern rail projects in the Commonwealth. Each passed the Senate floor unopposed, and SJR 354 sailed through both houses unencumbered. After much debate, a conference session, a gubernatorial amendment, and the Veto Session this month, SB 1279, the bill to create the Authority, passed with a reenactment clause attached, requiring that it be reheard in the 2004 General Assembly session before being enacted.

During the 2003 session, we significantly improved relationships with Norfolk Southern Railroad and other rail entities, engaging in more mutual support for the establishment of a statewide, interconnected rail plan. We achieved daily reference to the TDX in Transportation, Appropriations, Rules, and Finance Committees of both Houses as well as the Senate and House floors.

Since the 2003 Session, the TDX has been represented at multiple planning district preallocation transportation meetings where legislators and other officials have requested its rapid building. We have participated in three other state-sponsored long-range multi-modal planning meetings and a number of TDX follow-up meetings at VDRPT. Committee members have given several TDX presentations throughout Virginia. The Committee also voted to work closely with Tennessee on related rail initiatives and to include Mr. John Gaines, of Bristol, TN on the Steering Committee.

VDRPT has hired consultants for the TDX’s pre-engineering study, placing us on an active project list and protecting any remaining portion of our $9.3 million allocated funds.

Subsequent to our relationship building in Richmond, the TDX gained representation on the Rail Plan Task Force: Statewide Technical Advisory Committee, formed by Director Rae, to assist in development of a “Virginia Rail Plan,” and to provide input for the Rail Authority Study (SJR 354). The first meeting was held in Richmond on June 30, 2003.

Please see the article on page 3 regarding developments affecting the TDX in Farmville.

As you can see, your continued support is needed. There is no lack of work to do to get the TDX on track! Please continue to run with us!

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