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Money committees including funding for passenger rail in budget amendments

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 7:19 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Governor Northam made passenger rail a priority in his budget proposal earlier this year. Now, members of the House and Senate money committees agree.

Budget amendments, released Wednesday afternoon, include funding for improvements that should clear the way for extra service in Roanoke and the extension of passenger rail to the New River Valley.

“With respect to the expansion of daily passenger rail service from Washington DC to the New River Valley, the subcommittee believes that increasing accessibility is critical to economic growth,” said Senator George Barker (D-Alexandria).

State revenues continue to recover, and the money committees also called for additional spending on COVID response, criminal justice reform and pay raises for state employees and teachers.

“The committee wanted to show them our appreciation to our employees, and that we support them in these challenging times,” said Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax), chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

“With a brighter revenue forecast and a clear path out of the pandemic, this budget will continue the work of the last special session to build a safer, healthier and more equitable Commonwealth,” said House Appropriations Committee Chair Del. Luke Torian (D-Prince William).

Both chambers are expected to approve their budget amendments on Friday. Then negotiators will resolve the differences. Lawmakers hope to complete their work by March 1.

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