August 6, 2013
Governor Bob McDonnell announces Virginia and Amtrak are the first among several states to reach a cost-sharing agreement.
Under the agreement, Virginia will be assuming greater costs associated with making intercity passenger rail service available to communities between Richmond, Lynchburg, Norfolk, Newport News, and Washington, D.C.
The new operating and capital cost-sharing agreement with Amtrak, as required under federal law, needed to be in place no later than October 1, 2013 or all Virginia regional rail service would have ceased.
“Over 1.5 million people either board or disembark on a train in Virginia,” said Governor McDonnell. “Stopping regional Amtrak service in the Commonwealth was not an option.”
Keeping and improving railways helps to ease congestion on busy highways and interstates, as well as increasing connectivity for travelling throughout the region.
Also, it is believed that passenger rail service supports economic development and job growth for long-term local investment along service routes.
The agreement between Virginia and Amtrak is part of Section 209 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA).