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The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.6 million Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant to help the North Carolina Department of Transportation purchase and preserve the rail corridor between Raleigh and Ridgeway for future passenger service.
The 10-mile section of rail line serves as a "missing link" to the Southeast Corridor, said U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) in a press release issued by the office of U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.). The grant will be used to purchase the inactive freight-rail line from CSX.
Acquisition of the right of way not only will improve passenger-rail access, it will expand freight services in the state as well, members of North Carolina's congressional delegation said.
"Developing intercity passenger-rail service along the S-Line corridor will improve mobility, bolster safety and reduce highway congestion between Raleigh and Richmond," said U.S. Rep. David Price (D-N.C.).
The CRISI grant award builds on years of collaboration between transportation officials in North Carolina, Virginia and the Federal Railroad Administration, Price said.
The purchase of the S-Line is part of a larger agreement, announced in December 2019, between CSX and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. The agreement includes future development of passenger-rail service in the Southeast Rail Corridor, which is a federally designated higher speed rail corridor.