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The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission — which jointly oversee commuter railroad Virginia Railway Express — have approved VRE’s combined $190.7 million operating and capital budgets for fiscal-year 2024.
The $108.9 million operating budget is 11.4% higher than the 2023 operating budget because of more debt service obligations and increased operating expenses, according to budget documentation.
No fare increase is included. Fare revenue is estimated at $28.6 million for the year based on a projected average daily ridership of 10,000 passengers and 32 daily trains.
State operating assistance is also less than a quarter of last year’s budget, from $24.5 million in 2023 to $5 million in 2024, budget documents report. However, federal funding for urbanized area and state-of-good-repair programs increased to $49.8 million, up from $30.5 million in 2023.
The $81.8 million capital budget includes $7.9 million in grant funding from the NVTA and $7.5 million from the state’s Commuter Rail Operating and Capital Fund (C-ROC), which will be used for both capital and operating expenses. C-ROC funds will go toward necessary capital investments and improvements and may also be used as matching funds for state and federal grants, budget documents report.
The nine local jurisdictions that pay into the VRE network are set to contribute $5.4 million. The remaining $60.9 million comes from various federal and state funding sources.
Also included in the budget is the VRE’s $1.3 billion, six-year Capital Improvement Plan, which so far is two-thirds funded. The plan includes upgrades to stations, maintenance and storage facilities, rolling stock and IT equipment. The plan complements the state’s $4 billion Transforming Rail in Virginia initiative, which will support VRE service expansion for the next decade, VRE officials said in a press release.
The budgets will be reviewed and considered by the governing bodies of the jurisdictions. If approved, the budgets will take effect July 1.