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Judge allows using state money for rail project

A circuit judge has turned aside Montgomery County’s objections to state funding for a Norfolk Southern Corp. intermodal rail facility in the county.

Richmond Circuit Judge Melvin Hughes ruled Nov. 18 that the state constitution does not bar public support of the private project under legislation aimed at reducing truck traffic on state highways.  Hughes’ letter opinion is here.

The $50-million facility, proposed for a site near near Interstate 81, would transfer shipping containers between trucks and trains.

Hughes’ decision marks the second recent judicial affirmation of government authority affecting land use.  On Nov. 12, a Roanoke judge rejected a challenge to condemnation of private property to be used as part of a private medical complex.

By Peter Vieth

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