Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Virginia secures HSR funding

MEMO to Georgia. Here is why you did not get any HSR money. Virginia has made a serious investment.

President Obama Invests $620 Million in Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor
President’s $75 million investment in VA will put Washington to Richmond on track for high-speed rail

Richmond, Virginia: Virginians for High Speed Rail is tremendously appreciative of the investment President Obama and his administration are making toward the advancement of high-speed and intercity passenger rail in Virginia, the Southeast, and across America.

President Obama and his administration will begin investing $620 million of the $8 billion allocated for high-speed rail in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor (Washington-Richmond-Hampton Roads-Raleigh-Charlotte-Atlanta). Today’s announcement represents the largest federal investment in rail since President Lincoln built the Transcontinental Railroad.

The $620 million awarded to begin upgrading the Washington-Richmond-Raleigh-Charlotte portion of the Southeast Corridor will greatly enhance the development of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor. Of those funds, $75 million will be used to begin adding additional track capacity between Washington and Richmond, $25 million will be used for congestion mitigation between Richmond and Raleigh, and $520 million will be used to add additional track capacity and service between Raleigh and Charlotte.

“The President’s investment is both significant, and the first step toward linking Virginia, and the entire Southeast with fast, frequent, and reliable passenger rail service,” stated Daniel L. Plaugher, Executive Director of Virginians for High Speed Rail and the Southeast High Speed Rail Association. “The investments south of Richmond will improve the reliability of Amtrak’s Silver, Carolinian, and Palmetto services; and the improvements north of Richmond will improve on-time performance, and reduce trip time of all Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express Service using the corridor.”

“We applaud the decision to invest in the Southeast corridor. The initial investments both north and south of Richmond will help improve the reliability and reduce the trip time of our passenger rail service which will give our businesses improved transportation options as we work for faster service between Richmond and destinations north and south,” said Kim Scheeler, President and CEO of the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce

“This investment in high-speed rail is an enormous step forward. It will provide better transportation choices to Virginians and better connect our communities while generating jobs, cutting air pollution, and saving energy.  More will be needed, but this helps set us on a course for cleaner and more efficient transportation that will improve our quality of life,” said Trip Pollard, Director of the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Land and Community Program.

“The Richmond Region is perfectly situated in the middle of the federal government’s efforts to connect Washington, DC to a true Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor,” stated Robert A. Crum, Executive Director of the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission. “When completed, today’s announced investments will improve service between Washington and Richmond. The Richmond Region remains unanimous in its support for high speed rail service connecting the Richmond Region with Washington, DC. The Richmond Regional Planning District Commission, Richmond Area MPO, Capital Region Collaborative and our nine jurisdictions have all adopted resolutions in support of this important effort.”

In addition to the federal stimulus awards announced today, the U.S. Department of Transportation also has $2.5 billion allocated in the FY 2010 budget for high-speed rail improvements. Virginians for High Speed Rail will continue its efforts to ensure those funds help improve passenger rail service within the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Virginians for High Speed Rail commends our Congressional Delegation for their support of high-speed rail, especially Representatives Eric Cantor, Bobby Scott, and Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner. We also congratulate Director Thelma Drake, Kevin Page and the staff at the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation for their hard work and leadership in submitting Virginia’s high-speed rail applications. We thank our supporters, the Capital Region Collaborative, Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, the Richmond Region Planning District Commission, Mayor Dwight Jones and the rest of our local elected leaders who have worked hard to help expand high-speed to the Richmond region.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

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