Warner and Kaine Announce $2 Million to Plan New Rail Routes Across Virginia
Bipartisan infrastructure law funding will study the expansion of passenger rail across Virginia, including Bristol
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $2,000,000 in federal funding to study huge improvements to passenger rail in Virginia and surrounding states by potentially extending Amtrak service to new cities, increasing frequency, and creating faster routes. The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Corridor Identification and Development (Corridor ID) Program, which supports comprehensive intercity passenger rail planning and development in order to create a pipeline of intercity passenger rail projects ready for implementation. The Corridor ID Program was authorized and funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law, legislation strongly supported by Sens. Warner and Kaine.
“For years, we’ve been championing the expansion of rail to every corner of the Commonwealth because it’s a slam dunk for local economies, cuts traffic, and protects the environment,” said the senators. “We’re thrilled the bipartisan infrastructure law is taking a big step towards expanding service across the entire Commonwealth so communities along the I-95 corridor and beyond can be connected by more convenient, consistent passenger rail.”
The funding is broken down as follows:
- $500,000 for the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation for a proposed project that would extend Amtrak service to Bristol. The proposed corridor would also include new frequencies, improved travel times, improvements to reliability, and new stations, including an infill stop in Bedford.
- $500,000 for the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation for a proposed project that would connect Newport News with Richmond, Charlottesville and the New River Valley. The proposed corridor would provide new service on existing alignment, complementing existing state-supported Northeast Regional services connecting Washington, DC with Newport News and Roanoke, VA.
- $500,000 for the North Carolina Department of Transportation for a proposed project that would address infrastructure capacity constraints along the existing Carolinian service between Charlotte, NC and Washington, DC by improving services in Petersburg, Richmond, Fredericksburg and Alexandria, Virginia and several stops in North Carolina. Improvements include rehabilitating a partially abandoned alignment between Raleigh, NC and Petersburg, VA that is more direct than the existing routing, potentially shaving more than an hour off the travel time between the two states.
- $500,000 for Amtrak for a proposed project that would increase existing Amtrak Cardinal Service frequency from three days per week to daily. The Amtrak Cardinal Serve currently connects Alexandria, Manassas, Culpeper, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Clifton Forge, Virginia to cities including New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and more.
With the announcement of funding, each project now enters “Step 1” of the Corridor ID Program to develop a scope, schedule, and cost estimate for preparing, completing, or documenting its service development plan.
Sens. Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to improve and expand rail service across Virginia. Yesterday, the senators announced a $729 million investment in the Long Bridge Project, a transformative initiative that will alleviate a major passenger and freight rail bottleneck between Virginia and Washington, DC. The announcement is the result of years of work by the senators, from passing , which authorized critical land transfers that allowed construction of the project to move forward, to previous announcements of $20 million for the project. Additionally, the bipartisan infrastructure law represented the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak, and since its passage, Sens. Warner and Kaine have announced several seismic rail projects including $100 million for the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority to design and build the Franconia-Springfield Bypass, a historic $58 million investment in the Raleigh to Richmond (R2R) rail corridor, and the opening of the Silver Line Extension to Dulles International Airport. Sens. Warner and Kaine have also been longtime advocates for one of the routes proposed today, extending rail service all the way to Bristol. Sens. Warner and Kaine also advanced Amtrak service to Lynchburg, which in 2017 was extended to Roanoke.