City of Va Beach could repay $20M originially intended for light rail extention

13News Now Jemie Lee has the story

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC)  -- Virginia Beach will mostly likely have to send $20 M dollars back to the state after voters overwhelmingly decided they didn’t want to extend light rail to Town Center.

There is a possibility that the City could keep the money if it can come up with another mass transit plan, but the City says there’s a big chance it has to pay the money back.

The City is now asking for the public’s input on what it should do with the 10.6 strip of land that was supposed to be used for light rail. Ideas are being sent in through public forums, social media, and an online survey.

Deputy City Manager of Infrastructure Thomas Leahy says residents have come up with a number of alternatives including turning the land into a bike and hiking path, or building a road for rapid bus transit system. In the latter of the two examples, only buses would be allowed to use that road.

“The way it’s done in some cities is, it has a dedicated bus lane that cars can't use,” he said.

Leahy says a new plan is going to take time, but the city will continue to invest in roads, expand the number of bus routes, and look into new technology.

“The population is increasing and keeps getting gridlocked—especially in this area-- it's a parking lot. So they’re going to have to get creative,” resident Don Clark said.

(© 2017 WVEC)


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