Home $729M in federal funding secured for Phase 2 of Transforming Rail in Virginia projects

$729M in federal funding secured for Phase 2 of Transforming Rail in Virginia projects

Rebecca Barnabi
Courtesy of Office of Tim Kaine.

Federal funding has been secured to complete the Transforming Rail in Virginia (TRV) Phase 2 projects.

Awarded through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the $729,000,000 will support completion of a new Long Bridge across the Potomac River to connect D.C. and Virginia, make improvements to L’Enfant Station, and lay a third track along key sections of the corridor in Prince William, Stafford and Spotsylvania Counties.

The improvements will help alleviate current bottlenecks, expand capacity and improve reliability for Virginia commuters, travelers and freight. The TRV projects will help expand Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) rail services between D.C. and Raleigh, North Carolina. The projects will also add service to current destinations and are a necessary intermediate step for future passenger rail service for the New River Valley and Bristol.

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, Gov. Glenn Youngkin, and U.S. Reps. Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, Abigail Spanberger and Jennifer McClellan held an event in Arlington yesterday to announce the federal funding. 

“We’re thrilled we secured federal funding to support the construction of a new Long Bridge across the Potomac River and expand rail capacity and reliability in Virginia,” Warner and Kaine said. “This is another example of how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is improving transportation networks, reducing congestion, and supporting economic growth in communities across Virginia and the country.”

The existing Long Bridge is the most significant choke point along the East Coast, and the only rail bridge connecting Virginia to D.C. and serves as the main rail connection between the Southeast and Northeast for passenger and freight rail. The Long Bridge expansion is estimated to contribute $1.1 billion annually to the national economy and support 17,750 jobs.

 “This investment will help transform the rail system in Virginia, improving the flow of people and goods not only within the Commonwealth, but up and down the entire East Coast. I appreciate the collaboration between our senators, our congressional delegation, and our Secretary of Transportation to finalize the funding for this critical project this year and get this accomplished expeditiously. This project’s impact on the Commonwealth cannot be overstated — it will ease congestion, make our supply chain more resilient, improve freight movement in and out of our world-class port, and boost local economies,” Youngkin said.

According to Beyer, the federal funding is a “huge deal for Northern Virginia and the National Capital Region. This grant will support the completion of a new Long Bridge to connect Virginia and Washington, D.C., doubling capacity at a bottleneck for much of the freight rail traffic in the mid-Atlantic and bringing billions of dollars in projected economic benefits. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which I was proud to help pass, this historic infrastructure investment will benefit Virginians by expanding rail capacity, enhancing connectivity, and promoting economic growth. This project is a fantastic example of the good we can do with smart investment and forward-thinking public policy.”

Connolly said yesterday was a celebration of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in action.

“This is an historic investment in our future and a transformative project for all Virginians that will reduce rail and road congestion, improve commutes, and increase our regional transportation capacity. I am proud to have helped secure this critical funding and I can’t wait to see these federal dollars at work,” Connolly said. 

Spanberger said the federal investment is proof that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law “is continuing to deliver for Virginia’s communities. In Congress, I’ve had the honor of representing Virginians up and down the I-95 corridor. And for years, they have been calling for stronger investments in reliable passenger rail. On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Virginians I serve, I look forward to seeing these major and historic improvements in action.”

 “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act continues to improve our Commonwealth’s public transportation infrastructure and strengthen the capacity and resiliency of our passenger and freight rail network,” McClellan said. “Virginia Democrats called on the Department of Transportation to support the Long Bridge Project. Today, we celebrate this robust federal funding, which will have profoundly beneficial impacts in Virginia.”

Specifically, the funding will be used for: 

  • Long Bridge Project: Design and construct a new Long Bridge between Arlington and D.C., including five rail bridges and two pedestrian/bicycle bridges. Once completed, the four-track corridor will allow for the separation of passenger and freight rail.
  • L’Enfant Fourth Track and Station Improvements: Construct approximately one mile of mainline track through and around L’Enfant Plaza in D.C., VRE’s busiest station, and make improvements to the existing station platform.
  • Neabsco Creek to Woodbridge Third Track: Design and construct three miles of a third track in Prince William County.
  • Aquia Creek Third Track South: Design and construct approximately two miles of a third track in Stafford County.
  • Crossroads Third Track: Design and construct approximately four miles of a third track in Spotsylvania County.

DJ Stadtler is executive director of Virginia Passenger Rail Authority.

“This grant is great news for Virginians. The full funding of our Transforming Rail in Virginia Phase II projects, in particular, Long Bridge will result in a transformative increase in rail travel in the Commonwealth and along the East Coast.  VPRA is grateful for the immense support we have received from our Virginia senators and Congressional delegation for this initiative. Their support has been immeasurable,” Stadtler said. 

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.