RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Gov. Ralph Northam has signed legislation to create a pilot program aimed at reducing eviction rates in the state. The legislation is part of a push that began last year after a research group at Princeton University found that five Virginia cities have some of the highest eviction rates in the country. The pilot program will be launched in the Richmond, Danville, Hampton and Petersburg. The goal is to reduce evictions in those cities and collect data on the program’s effectiveness to help develop methods for preventing evictions around the state. Last month, Northam signed a package of bills aimed at reducing evictions by giving tenants more time to pay rent and fees ahead of an eviction notice and limiting the number of legal actions a landlord may file.