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THE state of Virginia, Amtrak, Class 1 railway CSX and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) have finalised agreements for a $US 3.7bn initiative to improve passenger and freight rail capacity and relieve road congestion in the state.
The “Transforming Rail in Virginia” initiative, unveiled by Virginia governor, Mr Ralph Northam, in December 2019, will “expand Amtrak and VRE rail services, create a pathway for the separation of freight and passenger rail in Virginia, and preserve future rail corridors.”
According to the Governor’s Office, over the next 10 years, the initiative will double the number of Virginia-supported Amtrak trains, providing nearly hourly service. The state and Amtrak are entering into a long-term partnership for six new state-supported daily round-trips, and Amtrak will serve as Virginia’s exclusive provider of inter-city passenger rail along the I-95 corridor for at least 30 years. Amtrak has committed $US 944m to the “Transforming Rail in Virginia” initiative.
The initiative will also increase VRE service by 60%. “Through our funding agreement with the [state], VRE anticipates providing $US 200m toward major infrastructure projects for the ‘Transforming Rail in Virginia’ initiative,” says VRE CEO, Mr Rich Dalton. “That, combined with more than $US 800 million in improvements spelled out in VRE’s six-year Capital Improvement Program, will bring our contribution to rail improvements in Virginia to more than $US 1bn. As these projects come on line, VRE will be able to expand service by as much as 60% along the RF&P corridor.”
US secretary of transportation Pete Buttigieg (standing, second from left), CSX president and CEO James Foote (seated, second from left), Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn (seated, second from right), Virginia governor Ralph Northam (seated, far right), and Virginia secretary of transportation Shannon Valentine (standing, far right) were among those participating in the March 30 signing ceremony.
The Governor’s Office says the initiative will also “lay the foundation for a Southeast high-speed rail corridor; preserve an existing freight corridor between Doswell and Clifton Forge for future east-west passenger service; and create the potential to expand rail to all parts of the [state].”
In 2020, Northam signed legislation creating the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) to manage and govern state-wide passenger and commuter rail service. VRPA will now also administer all capital expansion projects, infrastructure and land acquisitions related to the “Transforming Rail in Virginia” initiative. The project is estimated to bring nearly $US 6bn annually in benefits to the region by 2040.
The post Virginia, Amtrak, and CSX advance $US 3.7bn rail initiative appeared first on International Railway Journal.
This article first appeared on www.railjournal.com
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