Press Releases

Warner, Webb Announce $75 Million to Upgrade Va. Passenger Rail Capacity

~ Project will help facilitate high-speed passenger rail between Richmond & D.C. ~

Jan 28 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senators Jim Webb and Mark R. Warner today announced that Virginia has been awarded nearly $75 million in stimulus funds to upgrade passenger rail capacity between Richmond and Washington, D.C. These funds were included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The funding will go toward the construction of a third track segment along 11.4 miles of CSX-owned track between Arkendale in Stafford County and Powell’s Creek in Prince William County, along the Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor. This section of track also serves the Marine Corps Base Quantico.

The upgrade will allow passenger and freight trains to share the same rail corridor and travel around 100 mph, eventually allowing more reliable performance for high-speed Amtrak passenger trains and Virginia Railway Express commuter trains.

“This project will create construction jobs and spur economic activity at the local level, and eventually it will be part of the larger effort to provide congestion relief and help reduce our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels,” Senator Warner said. “We had hoped for additional resources from this round of funding. However, this project is ready to go, with preliminary engineering and environmental work already completed.”

“I am a strong proponent of rail systems nationwide and also in Virginia, which reduce traffic on our highways in a cost effective way,” said Senator Webb. “There are two aspects of our railroad systems we should be focusing on: the development of passenger services and high-speed rail and the capacity of our railroad systems around the country to handle a greater portion of the freight that is being carried. Though I wish more money had been allocated to the Commonwealth, today’s $75 million commitment of stimulus funds will both to spur job creation and economic growth, while making meaningful investments in Virginia’s high-speed rail. I will continue to fight for additional investments in Virginia’s infrastructure.”

Today’s $75 million grant is a portion of $620 million designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Charlotte-Richmond-Washington, D.C. rail corridor.

To read the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation’s background briefing on the project, click here (pdf):