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8/22/2001



Rail News: Passenger Rail

North Carolina, Virginia take next step toward high-speed rail


North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Rail Division and Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation recently completed Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor’s Tier I Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).



In addition to investigating high-speed rail’s environmental impact along the 500-mile corridor, the departments also researched potential impacts on the region’s economy, communities, surrounding development and other transportation systems. Researchers also spoke with elected officials, community planners and resource agencies, and held public meetings in both states to share project information and solicit residential feedback.



The EIS states that the majority of public input supported implementing high-speed rail; projected revenues likely would exceed operations costs for all alternatives under consideration; high-speed rail implementation likely would triple rail ridership from Washington, D.C., to Charlotte, N.C., by 2015; auto and air traffic diversions could exceed 1 million trips by 2015 on six of the nine alternatives studied; and average travel time between the two cities would range from 6.20 hours to 7.43 hours, depending on the alternative studied.



The departments plan this fall to hold a total of 17 formal public hearings in both states to provide an overview of the Draft EIS and provide the public an opportunity to comment.


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