Virginia budget includes millions for Bristol, Va. Landfill, planned inland port

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Richmond Va. (WJHL) — Virginia’s recently passed $188-billion state budget would send millions of dollars to Southwest Virginia.

The General Assembly agreed on a spending package that includes $2.5 million to fund continued efforts to construct an inland port in the region and $26 million for the City of Bristol, Virginia to put toward its landfill mitigation efforts.

Landfill Mitigation

Since the city entered a consent decree over issues at its now-closed landfill, it has faced budget constraints related to the costly remediation efforts.

In a letter requesting federal funds, the city estimated it would spend more than $28 million on remediation efforts in the 2023 calendar year.

If Governor Youngkin does not amend the budget, the state will kick in $26 million to cover work, including gas collections, waste temperature monitoring and stormwater management.

Delegate Israel O’Quinn (R-Bristol, VA) said he hopes the money will financially strengthen the city.

“It’s a good amount of money, a large amount of money for a local project, but one that keeps Bristol in stronger financial situation and avoids, hopefully, any drastic consequences there,” O’Quinn told News Channel 11.

Governor Youngkin is currently reviewing the budget and has the opportunity to make changes. Lawmakers will vote on those changes once they return to Richmond in April.

O’Quinn said the total landfill funding could increase in the governor’s amendments, but that it wouldn’t decrease.

Inland Port

The budget also continues the state’s ongoing project to build an inland port in Southwest Virginia.

“(The) inland port, also a huge deal that’s that has potential to completely transform Southwest Virginia,” O’Quinn said.

The project, which would connect warehouses and trucks in Washington County, Virginia to ships in Norfolk via railways, is still in its design and engineering phases.

It’s not just lawmakers in the county who say the project will bring more money and jobs to the region. Gate City Delegate Terry Kilgore told News Channel 11 that he’s expecting the inland port to attract manufacturers to the region.

“We believe that if we have the port and access to the port, then folks are going to look to locate here; to locate, whether it be [in] Washington County, Russell County, Scott, Lee, Wise,” Kilgore said.

As a bonus, Kilgore said the inland port would move some commercial traffic onto railways and clear up roadways such as Interstate 81.

Because the port requires an extensive design process, as well as coordination between private rail companies and multiple public entities, it may be some time before the port is operational.

O’Quinn wasn’t sure where the project was in the engineering process, but said, “Hopefully you’ll get to see dirt start to be moved in the not-too-distant future.”

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