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Virginia to expand train service in the state

Posted at 2:53 PM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 14:54:26-04

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Gov. Ralph Northam has signed agreements with executives at Amtrak, CSX, and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) that paves the way for a $3.7 billion expansion of freight and passenger service in the Commonwealth during the next decade.

"Today, we're celebrating a major, major milestone in our work to make it easier for people and goods to move around Virginia and up and down our East Coast," Northam said.

Under the Transforming Rail in Virginia Initiative, the state will build a new bridge over the Potomac dedicated to passenger rail service, acquire more than 380 miles of rail right of way and more than 220 miles of track, and invest more than one billion dollars in additional rail infrastructure projects over the next ten years.

"This transformative plan will make travel faster and safer. It will make it easier to move up and down our East Coast, and it will connect urban and rural Virginia."

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg spoke at the event to tout President Joe Biden's American Rescue plan and its impact on transportation.

"More than 43 billion dollars will go to support our nation's transportation system, our passengers, and our workers," Buttigieg said.

Under the recently signed legislation, Amtrak will receive $1.7 billion. Among other things, the money is enabling Amtrak to bring back 1000 furloughed workers.

Since the legislation was passed a few weeks ago, Amtrak has also announced the restoration of 12 long-distance East Coast routes to seven-day week operations.

Buttigieg also says the legislation also provides $1.4 billion for transit operators in the D.C. area, Maryland suburbs, and Northern Virginia.