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VRE summit held in Spotsylvania
Many VRE riders from Spotsylvania County currently board the train at the station in Fredericksburg.
FILE/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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BY DAN TELVOCK
If Spotsylvania County were a Virginia Railway Express member and built a station today it would probably be three years before a resident would ever board a train in the county.
That was revealed last night during the VRE summit at Riverbend High School. Supervisor Jerry Logan scheduled the event, saying he wanted residents and other members of the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors to have the facts before they vote in August on whether to have a public hearing and ultimately vote on joining VRE.
Dale Zehner, CEO of VRE, said that only half of a third track from Fredericksburg to Spotsylvania's VRE train yard is funded, and it could be at least three years before the remaining money is available. If Spotsylvania does not become a member, the funding would probably be much further away.
"If we join, then I am sure those two construction projects will go on dual paths," Logan said about finishing the third track and building a Spotsylvania train station possibly near the current VRE rail yard off U.S. 17.
The 2 percent gasoline tax (which will become 2.1 percent in January) would begin once Spotsylvania joins, but there would be no direct benefit for county riders until the third track is built. Also, Fredericksburg and Stafford County would not have relief from Spotsylvania residents using parking spaces in those jurisdictions until those two projects were completed.
Zehner said there would not be an express train or earlier trains if Spotsylvania does not join.
"If we are going to expand service down here we have to be able to have another station with parking so we can raise the number of riders from this area," Zehner said.