VB mayor: McAuliffe will help bring light rail to the City

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – During his State of the City Address Thursday, Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms made what would have been his biggest announcement regarding proposed light rail for Virginia Beach.

“…And today I’m pleased to announce that we have a firm commitment from Governor McAuliffe and Transportation Secretary Aubrey Lane to help with the funding we need to bring light rail into Virginia Beach,” said Sessoms.

WAVY/Chris Omahen
WAVY/Chris Omahen

However, the governor’s office contacted WAVY News 10 and said neither Governor McAuliffe nor Secretary Layne has committed to any light rail project yet.

“The Governor is supportive of light rail in communities across the Commonwealth but would need to see a specific proposal and ensure that it is in line with his priorities of fostering economic development and has the support of the local community before making any financial commitments to a project. At this point Secretary Layne and the Governor have not seen a proposal and have not made any specific financial commitments,” said Rachel Thomas with the governor’s office.

On another transportation issue during the State of the City Address, Sessoms said he wants to see more direct flights out of Norfolk International Airport to the West Coast, and maybe even western Europe.

Earlier this week, WAVY News 10 learned more about the study to extend the light rail from the Tide’s Newton Road station. Hampton Roads Transit is putting together a Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which includes three different plans.

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