Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 33.2. Highways and Other Surface Transportation Systems
Chapter 16. Rail Funds
5/25/2022

Chapter 16. Rail Funds.

§ 33.2-1600. Fund for construction of industrial access railroad tracks.

A. The General Assembly declares it to be in the public interest that access railroad tracks and facilities be constructed to certain industrial commercial sites where rail freight service is or may be needed by new or substantially expanded industry and that financial assistance be provided to areas seeking to furnish rail freight trackage between the normal limits of existing or proposed common carrier railroad tracks and facilities and the actual site of existing or proposed commercial or industrial buildings or facilities. This section is enacted in furtherance of these purposes and is intended to be comparable to the fund for access roads to economic development sites established pursuant to § 33.2-1509.

B. The funding for this program shall be set forth in the appropriation act.

C. The Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation shall administer and expend or commit, subject to the approval of the Board, such funds for constructing, reconstructing, or improving industrial access railroad tracks and related facilities. The Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation may consult with the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Chief Executive Officer of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, or their designated representatives, concerning applications for funds. Funds shall be spent directly by the Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation or by reimbursement of the local entities, private or public.

D. Funds may be used to construct, reconstruct, or improve part or all of the necessary tracks and related facilities on public or private property currently used or being developed, existent or prospective, for single industries or industrial subdivisions under firm contract or already constructed, including those subdivisions owned or promoted by railroad companies and others. Applications for funds must be approved by the local governing body.

E. In deciding whether to construct any such access track, the Board shall consider the cost thereof in relation to prospective volume of rail traffic, capital investment, potential employment, and other economic and public benefits. The Board shall adopt procedures to encourage widespread use of the funds, shall limit allocation of funds so that no locality receives more than 50 percent of the funds in any one fiscal year unless there are not sufficient applications prior to May 1 of each year to use the available funds, and shall consider the practices of the Department of Transportation in distributing funds for access roads to economic development sites under § 33.2-1509.

F. Tracks and facilities constructed with such funds shall be the property of the Commonwealth for the useful life of the project as determined by the Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation and shall be made available for use by all common carriers using the railway system to which they connect. The landowners or using businesses shall, prior to the commitment of funds by the Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, be contractually committed to the perpetual maintenance of such tracks and facilities so constructed and to the payment of any costs related to the future relocation or removal of such tracks and facilities.

1987, c. 495, § 33.1-221.1:1; 1992, c. 167; 1996, cc. 590, 598; 2010, c. 869; 2011, c. 64; 2012, c. 19; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1601. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2020, cc. 1230 and 1275, cl. 4.

§ 33.2-1602. Shortline Railway Preservation and Development Fund.

A. For the purposes of this section:

"Fund" means the Shortline Railway Preservation and Development Fund.

"Railway transportation support facilities" means facilities required for the loading, transfer, or additional track capacity to facilitate the shipment of goods by rail other than as provided for in § 33.2-1600.

"Shortline railway" means any Class II or Class III railroad as defined by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.

B. The General Assembly declares it to be in the public interest that shortline railway preservation and development of railway transportation support facilities are important elements of a balanced transportation system of the Commonwealth for freight and passengers, and further declares it to be in the public interest that the retention, maintenance, and improvement of the shortline railway and development of railway transportation support facilities are essential to the Commonwealth's continued economic growth, vitality, and competitiveness in national and world markets.

C. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Shortline Railway Preservation and Development Fund. The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller and shall consist of such funds from such sources as shall be set forth in the general appropriation act and shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely as provided in this section. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation or the Director's designee.

D. To fulfill this purpose, there shall be funding set forth each year in the appropriation act and appropriated by the General Assembly in the Rail Assistance Program of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation. These funds shall be used by the Department of Rail and Public Transportation to administer a Shortline Railway Preservation and Development Program for the purposes described in subsection B. Furthermore, the Board shall include an annual allocation for such purpose in its allocation of transportation revenues.

E. The Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation shall administer and expend or commit, subject to the approval of the Board, the Fund for acquiring, leasing, or improving shortline railways and the development of railway transportation support facilities or assisting other appropriate entities to acquire, lease, or improve shortline railways and the development of railway transportation purposes whenever the Board has determined that such acquisition, lease, or improvement is for the common good of a region of the Commonwealth or the Commonwealth as a whole. The Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation may consult with other agencies or their designated representatives concerning projects to be undertaken under this section.

F. Tracks and facilities constructed, and property and equipment purchased, with funds under this section shall be the property of the Commonwealth for the useful life of the project, as determined by the Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, and shall be made available for use by all common carriers using the railway system to which they connect under the trackage rights agreements between the parties. Projects undertaken pursuant to this section shall be limited to those of a region of the Commonwealth or the Commonwealth as a whole. Such projects shall include a minimum of 30 percent cash or in-kind matching contribution from a private source, which may include a railroad, a regional authority, private industry, a local government source, or a combination of such sources. No single project shall be allocated more than 50 percent of total available funds.

2006, c. 856, § 33.1-221.1:1.2; 2014, c. 805; 2020, cc. 1230, 1275.

§ 33.2-1603. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2020, cc. 1230 and 1275, cl. 4.

§ 33.2-1604. Funds for administration of Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board may annually allocate up to 3.5 percent of the revenues available each year in the funds established pursuant to §§ 33.2-1526.4 and 33.2-1602 to support the costs of project development, project administration, and project compliance incurred by the Department of Rail and Public Transportation in implementing rail, public transportation, and congestion management programs and grants.

2014, cc. 66, 451; 2020, cc. 1230, 1275.