augusta free press news

Rail Compact holds first meeting

Edited by Chris Graham

The newly formed Virginia-North Carolina Interstate High Speed Rail Compact held its inaugural meeting Monday at the NCDOT Transportation Building in Raleigh.

The compact, which was authorized by Congress and established through legislation enacted by the Virginia and North Carolina state legislatures, will work to advance high-speed rail initiatives in the two states, primarily the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor that will eventually run between Washington, D.C., and Charlotte, N.C.

The meeting included swearing in the compact members and the election of Sen. John Watkins of Virginia as the commission’s chair and Rep. Nelson Cole of North Carolina as the vice chair. The group also began discussion of its work program, including passing a resolution to coordinate the submission of grant applications and jointly support efforts to obtain funding for the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor.

The two states, along with the Federal Railroad Administration, recently completed the Tier II Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor between Richmond and Raleigh. They are hosting a series of public meetings regarding the proposed corridor designs and associated impacts throughout the month of July.

As set forth in legislation, the compact will meet at least twice a year. Its next meeting has been tentatively scheduled for early January in Virginia.