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Governor McAuliffe's office defends Norfolk Southern grant

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GALAX (WSLS 10) -  The governor's office defended its decision to give Norfolk Southern nearly $2 million in grant money.

Governor McAuliffe said this money helped create 165 jobs in Norfolk.

Critics say that because Norfolk Southern pulled nearly 500 jobs out of Roanoke, the state is essentially paying to move jobs from one Virginia city to another.

Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones addressed that issue at an economic announcement in Galax Monday. He said those Roanoke jobs were eliminated without question. Norfolk Southern was then trying to decide whether it would put jobs in Norfolk or Atlanta.

"Make no mistake about it. This was us competing vigorously with Atlanta, Georgia, in this case, to keep jobs in Virginia," said Jones. "Our first preference, obviously, would have been to keep them in Roanoke, but that decision was made before we even got on the field of play."

Some delegates are claiming the General Assembly was not notified of this plan. Jones said it was told back in August.