Friday, January 25, 2013

Amtrak lauds Virginia's Roanoke service plan

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on Thursday singled out a rail priority among numerous projects unveiled on Wednesday: restored passenger rail service to Roanoke, Va., in the state's western reaches. McDonnell's interest drew praise from Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman.

In a statement, Boardman said, "Amtrak applauds Gov. McDonnell for continuing to offer a true vision and tangible support of intercity passenger rail as a relief to the growing problems of highway congestion. Passenger rail is a vital alternative in Virginia's overall transportation solution and will be a contributor to Virginia's future economic success."

Amtrak's CEO added that the governor's declaration "marks the beginning of the return of intercity passenger rail to Roanoke as Amtrak Virginia. It would be the fourth expansion of intercity passenger rail in the Commonwealth since 2009 following new or additional service to Lynchburg, Richmond, and Norfolk. These services are made possible through a partnership between Virginia's Department of Rail and Public Transportation, Amtrak, and the host railroads along the routes."

McDonnell on Wednesday unveiled a long-term transportation funding proposal, "Virginia's Road to the Future," designed to provide the Virginia Department of Transportation with approximately $1.07 billion in new funds for rail and transit projects.