WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) was joined by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Northern Virginia officials for an event announcing $20 million to construct a new bicycle-pedestrian bridge crossing the Potomac River between Arlington and Washington, D.C. The funding for the project was made possible by the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program that was included in the Warner-authored Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The construction of the new shared-use path for bikes and pedestrians, connecting the Mt. Vernon Trail in Virginia to downtown Washington, is a crucial component of the broader Long Bridge project, which will relieve a major passenger and freight rail bottleneck by constructing a new two-track bridge upstream and expanding the existing railroad corridor, which is currently the only rail bridge connecting Virginia to Washington, D.C., from two tracks to four.
“I am thrilled to announce this new funding for the Long Bridge Pedestrian Crossing project. This $20 million investment was made possible by the bipartisan infrastructure law I was proud to help write and will help the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority complete a new span across the Potomac dedicated to cyclists and pedestrians,” said Sen. Warner. “This project is a key component of the broader effort to fix a major rail chokepoint and expand commuter and passenger service over the Potomac River.”
“I want to thank Senator Warner for sticking with the Long Bridge project for all these years,” said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. “People in our region want opportunities to get around without cars. They want to live and work near train stations. They want to get around on bikes, scooters, and buses. And more and better bridges, trains, and bike paths mean more opportunities to do just that. I look forward to seeing this project come to fruition and, in the meantime, working together to build a more connected region.”
“Today’s announcement will pave the way to build an unprecedented, purpose-built bicycle and pedestrian bridge that will become a major gateway to Arlington, Long Bridge Park, Crystal City and beyond,” said Katie Cristol, Arlington County Board Chair. “Arlington is extremely grateful to Senator Warner for his leadership in securing funding for this important project that will enhance mobility and accessibility across our region.”
“VPRA’s Long Bridge Project includes not only a new bridge dedicated to passenger rail, but also a bicycle and pedestrian bridge, which will make it safer and more convenient to cross the Potomac River,” said DJ Stadtler, executive director of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority. “This RAISE grant highlights how the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Federal Government are partnering to support multi-modal infrastructure investments that will benefit not only Virginians, but also residents of our nation’s capital. We would like to thank Senator Warner for his support of this worthwhile project.”
Sen. Warner has been a longtime advocate for the $1.9 billion Long Bridge project. In 2020, he secured passage of legislation transferring four acres of land required for the project from the federal government to Virginia and the District of Columbia. Once complete, the rail expansion will double the capacity of the Potomac River crossing and is projected to bring an annual $6 billion in benefits to the region by 2040.