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12/27/2012


Rail News: Passenger Rail
West Virginia authority seeks more public input on state rail plan



The West Virginia State Rail Authority plans to hold additional informational public workshops on Jan. 8 in Mingo and Jan. 9 in Ripley to review the development of the West Virginia State Rail Plan.

The workshop-style meetings will afford attendees an opportunity to learn about the state rail plan and provide input that will be considered during the plan's development, authority officials said in a meeting announcement.

The state rail plan will articulate freight- and passenger-rail visions for West Virginia; specify long-term rail investment strategies; provide guidance for future freight- and passenger-rail planning and funding; educate the public about the state rail system's importance and benefits; and meet requirements for future federal rail financial assistance eligibility, according to the West Virginia Department of Transportation.

The plan's "freight needs assessment" will analyze freight-rail capacity and congestion effects, including environmental, economic and employment impacts.

A "passenger needs assessment" will study Amtrak's and MARC's corridors, stations and amenities; schedules and ridership; passenger flows and multi-modal connections. In addition, the assessment will determine economic development opportunities, cite potential public/private partnerships, and identify constraints and remaining capacity.

The authority expects to complete the state rail plan by mid-2013 and finish the entire plan project by 2013's end.

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