Home ‘Great news for the Commonwealth’: Feds to provide $1M for Virginia rail system
Politics, Virginia

‘Great news for the Commonwealth’: Feds to provide $1M for Virginia rail system

Rebecca Barnabi
train tracks
(© den-belitsky – stock.adobe.com)

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Rail Administration’s Corridor Identification and Development Program awarded grants to support construction of the Charlotte, North Carolina to Washington, D.C. Corridor and the east-west Commonwealth Corridor.

The two $500,000 grant awards follow a letter of support from lawmakers to strengthen Virginia‘s passenger rail system.

U.S. Reps. Jennifer McClellan and Bobby Scott applauded the grant awards. They fought to secure the federal funding for the Commonwealth. In March 2023, McClellan and Scott sent a letter to USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg urging the selection of the N.C. to D.C. Corridor and the Commonwealth Corridor. While in the Virginia General Assembly, McClellan carried legislation to direct the Department of Rail and Public Transportation to conduct a feasibility study of the Commonwealth Corridor.

Improvements to the North Carolina to Washington, D.C. Corridor will dramatically expand passenger rail service and reliability in the growing Southeast Corridor, which is expected to reach a population of more than 25 million by 2040. The Commonwealth Corridor will provide much needed east-to-west passenger rail service and connect Newport News with Richmond, Charlottesville, and the New River Valley in Virginia.

“This announcement is incredibly welcomed news that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of Virginians,” McClellan said. “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act continues to deliver for Virginia. This federal funding will support the development of a vital component of the national rail passenger transportation system and better connect Virginia with the rest of the nation. As we work to implement additional provisions from the bill, I will continue advocating for localities in Virginia’s Fourth and across the Commonwealth.”

Scott referred to the grant awards as “great news for the Commonwealth.”

“These funds will expand passenger rail service for Virginians and provide a boost for our local economies,” Scott said. “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was a once in a generation investment in rail, roads, bridges, ports, tunnels, broadband and more. The law has already delivered big wins for Virginia and these grants are another example. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure we take full advantage of further opportunities and resources made available from this law.”

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.