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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Virginia seeks more than $2 billion in ARRA funds to advance HSR


Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine recently joined regional business and local government officials to seek federal funds to develop high-speed rail (HSR) between Washington, D.C., and the Richmond and Petersburg areas.

Earlier this month, the commonwealth submitted pre-applications to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requesting more than $2 billion through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's (AARA) HSR program. The FRA expects to announce “Round 1” grant awards in fall and “Round 2” awards in spring 2010.

Virginia's proposed projects, which focus on the Interstate 95 corridor between D.C. and Petersburg, would further the commonwealth's commitment to freight- and passenger-rail options, Kaine said in a prepared statement.

"This first nationwide investment in high-speed rail can help rebalance transportation options for Virginians — and reduce our dependence on a stressed highway system — while reducing pollution and creating jobs all along the I-95 corridor,” he said.

Meanwhile, the commonwealth recently received word it would receive $1 billion in AARA funds, including $62 million for rail improvements, $28 million for urban transit, $14 million for small urban transit, $4 million for rural transit and about $184 million for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which is shared with Maryland and Washington, D.C. In addition, Kaine appointed Steven Powell, senior vice president of the Buckingham Branch Railroad Co., to the Virginia Rail Advisory Board and reappointed existing members for four-year terms.