Chester community worried about rail plans

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – A set of tracks already cuts through Chesterfield County and right now people don't know if they want another set to come. So they're working to get as much information they can on this high speed rail.

This presentation and paperwork captivated a crowd of 50 for more than an hour. Every single one listened as Chesterfield representatives explained what a high-speed rail means for them.

"From our perspective, we might be a small fish in a big pond. But we're going to try our best to raise the issues and the concerns that we have with the impact to property owners," said one county leader.

Chester resident Jay King sat quietly, jotting down notes on the train line that will connect Richmond to Raleigh.

"Everybody looks at the benefit, but nobody looks at the problems," said King.

There are already 7 railroad crossings in the Chester area. Now to accommodate this high speed rail some of the roads would need to be re-aligned others would close. And people don't want to hear that.

"We like our little village concept," said resident Nancy Briggs.

People are also concerned about property values and who will fund this project.

"We've been told that the federal government will provide half of it, but that we're responsible for not only the other half but also the upkeep and maintenance of the rail," King said.

Jay says he's done his research- finding this report on Chesterfield's website. It's a study filed by the comprehensive plan committee.

"Assumptions about anticipated transit usage will not be a primary solution to address the county's challenges to roadway congestion. The renaissance planning group admits that the rail's not going to work," he said.

Nancy Briggs understands where Jay is coming from, but she wants more info.

"We have to increase our knowledge, make equitable decisions and move forward," Briggs said.

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