The push is on to bring light rail to Virginia Beach

Posted at 4:55 PM, Mar 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-19 19:44:25-04

Virginia Beach, Va. (WTKR) – Virginia Beach City leaders are pressing ahead with a plan to bring light rail to the resort city.

Following his State of the City Address last week, Beach Mayor Will Sessoms said he hoped to have a plan together in 30 days for extending light rail to the Beach.

He also admitted, funding may prevent the line from going all the way to the Oceanfront initially.

“We’ve got to find a responsible way to pay for it. I imagine we will be limited to the distance and it might be just to Town Center and it will be limited because of the funding, without the federal money we will need more help from the state and from the local government as well,” Sessoms told NewsChannel 3’s Todd Corillo.

An extension to Town Center would include stations at Witchduck Road and near Independence Boulevard.

The former freight line that light rail could take sits between Interstate 264 and Virginia Beach Boulevard.

It cuts through a mostly light-industrial and commercial area between Witchduck Road and the Town Center area.

Virginia Beach’s vision for the Newtown Strategic Growth Area calls for “transit-oriented” development and “redeveloping underutilized commercial property into a mixed-use district.”

George’s Restaurant sits just yards away from where a light rail station could be built at Witchduck Road.

Owner Omar Ayala bought the restaurant at the beginning of the year and is already planning to expand his menu and hours.

He welcomes the idea of light rail buzzing close to his restaurant.

“They’re going to need a place to eat you know – so that’s what we are trying to do, bring more people here and that’s going to help us a lot,” Ayala said.

You can read all three proposals Virginia Beach has received for light rail by clicking here.

You can also read up on HRT’s Virginia Beach Transit Extension Study by clicking here.