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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Virginia seeks options for funding new passenger-rail service


Yesterday, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) announced it will solicit public comments on an intercity passenger-rail operation funding study.

Currently, there is no state-sponsored source of operating funds for intercity passenger-rail service, DRPT officials said in a prepared statement.

Virginia has contracted Amtrak to operate two state-sponsored trains over a three-year demonstration period. However, funding is not available to sustain the service permanently or to introduce any other new intercity passenger-rail service in the state, DRPT officials said.

“The demand for more transportation choices continues to grow in Virginia, but without a dedicated source of operating funds we will not be able to sustain or expand Amtrak service in underserved areas, such as Hampton Roads and southwest Virginia, in the future,” said DRPT Director Thelma Drake.

The current study schedule calls for the draft document to be available in fall. Afterwards, a second public comment period will be announced. DRPT officials anticipate finalizing the study by year's end.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/4/2010