Virginia Takes Major Step Forward on DC to Richmond High Speed Rail Project

Submitted by admin on Tue, 12/06/2016 - 16:15

December 6, 2016

Immediate Release – Danny Plaugher: 804-864-5193

Richmond, Virginia – The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) has taken a major step forward in advancing the Washington to Richmond segment of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor (DC2RVA) today with the release of their draft recommendations to the Commonwealth Transportation Board as part of the Federal study process. The DC2RVA project serves as the critical connection between the Northeast Corridor which spans from Washington to Boston, and the Southeast Corridor which extends south from Richmond through Atlanta to Jacksonville, Florida, as well as the important connection to Hampton Roads.

The DC2RVA corridor is absolutely vital to the continued improvement, expansion, and reliability of passenger rail service to North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Hampton Roads, and Roanoke/New River Valley. Every passenger train traveling north and south through Virginia operates on this segment of railroad at some juncture.

“The DC to Richmond High Speed Rail project is one of those once in a lifetime projects that are an economic game changer for our state” stated Robbyn Gayer, President of VHSR “It will allow Virginia to increase passenger service from the Blue Ridge to the Chesapeake Bay, make our train trips quicker and more reliable than I-64 or I-95, and  make our communities more attractive to companies that want access to the $3 trillion economy of the Northeast, without the traffic gridlock that comes with it.”

DRPT’s Recommendations:

Northern Virginia (47 miles): 4 tracks from Long Bridge to Crystal City, 3 tracks from Crystal City south.
Fredericksburg (14 miles): 3 tracks through town.
Central Virginia (29 miles): 3 tracks mostly within CSX right-of-way.
Richmond (23 miles): DRPT has recommended 3 tracks through the region with some reconfigurations to allow for greater reliability. They have also recommended a two station option of Staples Mill Station and Main Street Station with full service to both stations via the S-Line.
Ashland (10 miles): DRPT has recommended additional study of capacity improvements in the Ashland area that would be separate from the current DC2RVA Tier II Environmental Impact Statement.  The additional study would be designed to allow for additional coordination and time to identify a preferred alternative for this area.

Virginians for High Speed Rail is generally supportive of the continuing Hanover study; however with the number of trains using the corridor anticipated to double within the coming decades it’s critical that Hanover County decide in the near future how and where it wants to add much needed rail capacity.

These recommendations build on two years of intensive study as well as the successful FASTLANE and ARRA grants that the Commonwealth has previously secured. The 123 mile project which is estimated to cost between $4.98 and $5.2 billion in 2025 dollars (depending on which Ashland alternative is chosen) will increase reliability to 90 percent or better, double passenger rail service, and reduce travel times by more than 20 percent.

About Virginians for High Speed Rail: We are non-profit coalition of citizens, businesses, localities, and community groups that educate and advocate for the expansion of fast, frequent, and reliable intercity rail service. We were founded in 1994 as a partnership between the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce and the Future of Hampton Roads. For more information please visit www.VHSR.com

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