Gov. John Dalton submitted two bills to the Virginia General Assembly last week that would authorize the state to condemn part of the controversial oil refinery site in Portsmouth, Va., for a coal terminal.
Dalton said the legislation had the support of Democratic and Republican legislative leaders and was needed to allow the Virginia Port Authority to move quickly.
Under the legislation, the port authority would borrow general tax dollars to acquire the property, then repay the state treasury when the VPA sells revenue bonds to finance the venture, estimated between $150 million and $200 million.
Neither Dalton nor Glenn Sedam, VPA chairman, would disclose how much money the authority might have to borrow from the state's general funds to acquire the property through condemnation and "quick take."
"Quick take," Dalton said, is the procedure by which the authority would file a condemnation suit if necessary to acquire the 350-acre waterfront site, pay the court the estimated value of the property, and move in immediately, pending the court decision on a fair price.
Dalton, asked specifically if general tax money had been used for such a purpose, said he could not think of an example, but that it might have been done before.
Dalton and Sedam said the proposed pier would be the world's largest steam coal shipping terminal, with an estimated 25 million to 30 million tons annually.
The property is owned by Cox Enterprises of Atlanta and is part of a 623-acre site Cox bought several years ago from Norfolk & Western Railway for an oil refinery.
The refinery, estimated to cost $1 billion, has not yet been built, although it obtained the last of the necessary state and federal permits about a year ago.
The N&W, claiming Cox did not fulfill a contract provision to begin construction by Oct. 17, 1980, has sued to repurchase the land, and the ownership is tied up in court.
The potential delay from the lawsuit caused Dalton to reverse his oft-stated position that private enterprise should be responsible for port improvements.
Hampton Roads harbor has been clogged with up to 160 colliers waiting to load coal for export. Foreign buyers have expressed their frustration at the expensive delays and threatened to go to other coal ports looking for a share of the steam coal boom.
The port legislation will be considered at a special session of the General Assembly. Dalton spokesman Charles Davis said that session will begin March 30.
This week's business-related committee hearings in the Maryland General Assembly. The Virginia General Assembly regular session adjourned over the weekend and a special session is scheduled later.: MARYLAND SENATE
Monday: Budget and Taxation Committee consider bills on distribution of state lottery revenue and the Homeowner's Property Tax Credit Program, 3 p.m., Room 100, James Senate Office Bldg.
Tuesday: Economic Affairs Committee considers various insurance and workmen's compensation legislation, 10 a.m., Room 200, James Office Bldg.
Wednesday: Budget and Taxation Committee holds hearings on bills relating to state and local spending, 3:30 p.m., Room 100, James Senate Office Bldg.
Thursday: Economic Affairs Committee hearings on bills relating to termination of service by gas and electric companies and daily sales quotas for the State Tobacco Authority, 10 a.m., Room 200, James Office Bldg.
Finance Committee holds hearings on bills pretaining to transportation and disposal of nuclear waste, 10 a.m., Presidential Wing, James Office Bldg.
Friday: Budget and Taxation Committee holds hearings on retail sales and property tax legislation, 2 p.m., Room 100, James Office Bldg.
Economic Affairs Committee considers mortgage and interest rate legislation, 10 a.m., Room 200, James Office Bldg. MARYLAND HOUSE
Tuesday: Economic Matters Committee holds hearings on bills relating to interest, usury and finance charges, bank credit cards and retail credit accounts, 1 p.m., Room 150, Lowe Office Bldg.
Ways and Means Committee hearings on sales and property tax legislation, 1:30 p.m., Room 110, Lowe Office Bldg.
Wednesday: Economic Matters Committee considers legislation pertaining to motor vehicle warranties, sales, licensing of rental agencies and law suits against dealers, 1 p.m., Room 150, Lowe Office Bldg.
Judiciary Committee hearings on estates and trusts, 1 p.m., Room 120, Lowe Office Bldg.
Thursday: Economic Matters Committe hearings on mortgage lending institions, savings and loan associations, retail credit accounts, credit-card discounts and return of canceled checks by financial institutions, 1 p.m., room 150. Lowe Office Bldg.
Friday: Constituional and Administrative Law Committee holds hearings on workmen's compensation legislation, one hour after session ends, Room 140, Lowe Office Bldg.