North Carolina and Virginia are receiving $58 million from the federal government to help establish planned high-speed rail service between state capitals.
The Federal Railroad Administration announced the grant — the largest of 46 awarded nationwide on Thursday — to begin engineering work on a rail corridor linking Raleigh and Petersburg, Va. The high-speed train will reach north to Richmond, media reported.
The two states have been planning such trains between the capitals since 1992, with a route defined several years ago. The so-called “S line” is purchased by the states from the CSX Corp freight railroad.
“This is a project of regional significance, and the cooperation we’ve seen demonstrates that both states fully understand this reality,” said U.S. Representative David Price, DN.C., who leads the deputy. House transportation appropriations committee. The investments will help develop a passenger rail corridor between Washington and Atlanta, he added.
Price was joined at a news conference in Wake Forest by Governor Roy Cooper, Federal Railroad Administration Chief Amit Bose and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who is implementing the package. $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by Congress last fall. The bipartisan Infrastructure Act provided funds to increase these subsidies to the railways.
“It’s about creating a fast train that makes it faster, safer, smarter and gets people from where they are to where they want to be,” Landrieu said Thursday.
The plan is for passenger trains capable of going 110 mph (about 160 kph) to begin stopping at Wake Forest as part of the Raleigh-Richmond route within the next three to seven years, said Jason Orthner, Director of the Railroad Division of the State Department of Transportation.
CSX still uses tracks on portions of the S line in North Carolina for freight traffic and will continue to use tracks in the corridor in the future, Orthner said. North Carolina DOT is eliminating railroad crossings in Wake County to prepare for high-speed trains.