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Virginia seeks $75 million for high-speed rail project

(The following appeared on the Richmond Times-Dispatch website on August 25, 2009.)

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia is seeking federal stimulus funding for a $74.8 million high-speed rail project in Prince William and Stafford counties.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine announced yesterday that Virginia has submitted an application for funding for a third set of tracks along an 11.4-mile section of the CSX Corp. rail line between Richmond and Washington.

"The Federal Railroad Administration set very specific criteria for states to compete for this first round of historic federal investment in high-speed rail," Kaine said.

"Virginia has submitted a strong project application and we are ready to begin construction as soon the federal funding is awarded," he said.

The state worked with CSX, Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express to submit the application. The project is intended to improve on-time reliability and reduce freight and passenger rail conflicts with the goal of developing 90 mph intercity passenger rail service.

The funding would come from $8 billion dedicated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for high-speed rail corridors around the country, including the proposed Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor through Virginia.

Virginia has notified the federal government that it will submit applications for more than $2 billion worth of high-speed rail projects, mostly for projects supporting speedy passenger rail service between Washington and Petersburg and from Richmond to Hampton Roads.

The application deadline yesterday was for "ready to go" projects fully supported by both the track owner, CSX in this case, and the service provider, Amtrak. The third set of tracks would stretch from Powell's Creek in Prince William to Arkendale in Stafford.

Virginia intends to compete in October for a second round of high-speed rail projects funded by federal stimulus funds.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

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