DeRail the Trail’s
– TERM: Now till 12/31/2027
Mr. Austin has been in favor of the trail since 2002 when he was on the Botetourt BOS. It was highly defeated at that time. Everyone thought that it would never be heard from again. Austin has since moved on and is currently a State Delegate, part of the transportation board, and vice chair on the appropriations committee. All making for the perfect combination to push the trail thru.
DeRail had a meeting with Austin in the early summer of ’23 to discuss the trail. We were representing the many(hundreds at that time) who do not want the trail. He flatly said “the property belongs to the State of Virginia, and we will do with it what we want”. He clearly forgets that he was voted in to represent our district, not ALL of Virginia.
Asked if he consulted any of the landowners or residents through out the area it will affect (he avoided answering that direct question) and he said that he spoken with the county administrations of Botetourt and Craig counties (not the people) and the counties wanted it.
It also needs to be mentioned here that at a “meet and greet” in Covington he stated that the trail has been “endorsed by the supervisors in Craig and Botetourt counties”. Then on a third occasion at a Republican Party Meeting, he said “I have appropriated 12.5 Million dollars because Craig and Botetourt have expressed the desire to have a trail system”.
When we mentioned the loss of a hunting road that has been used for 60 years, he said yes, “they will take it away from the hunters and give it to the bicyclist”.
Terry Austin on Video:
In September the appropriations Committee met minutes before the general assembly voted on the state budget. Prior to this, DeRail had been sending in emails along with calling the senators and delegates. We were asking them to not include funding for the trail at this time. We were told earlier that the trail plan would need to be approved before funded, but here it was. It was snuck in as part of a package deal. The main subject of the package was refunding money back to Virginian’s because the state had overtaxed everyone. No one was going to deny approving that, no matter what bad stuff was included in it.
To understand this video properly, you must realize that this trail is ON roadways.
In the video Terry Austin says :
“There is a small contingency of people there, 14 or 15 people. Part of that road has been used as, uh, a secondary road system. 7 or 8 miles. The traffic count on that road is 14 vehicles per day.”
He is lying about the scenario. He knew that there was a serious contingency of people against this trail, via meetings himself or his assistant Matt had been at. The 15 people he mentions are on only a section of this road, about two miles worth. He doesn’t bother to mention the hundreds of others that live along this 26 miles. The traffic count on the 8 miles (actually 9+miles) of roads he brings up is truly 371 vehicle per day, not 14. These numbers are provided/proven by VDOT(of which he is on the board).
All this to minimize the scenario to get his trail passed. He makes light of the situation which will create safety issues. Ironically, on Mr. Austin’s own website, he talks about transportation safety as a key issue of his. That’s certainly NOT the case here.
Suspiciously, the video has been taken down on the General Assembly’s website. A DeRail member had fortunately saved the video, and is now being shared here.