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Virginia makes deal with CSX to advance DC-Richmond high speed rail

(The following story by Rosalind Helderman appeared on the Washington Post website on July 30, 2010.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. Virginia and CSX Transportation have reached an agreement about how to proceed with federal stimulus spending on a new high speed rail line between Washington and Richmond. A framework agreement over the $75 million project has now been submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

If the federal agency signs off, Gov. Bob McDonnell's office indicates work on the rail line can begin. CSX cooperation is necessary for the project since, like in most states, the rail corridor in Virginia is owned by the private company and used for freight transport. McDonnell said in a statement that Virginia is the first state in the country to reach agreement with its private rail corridor owner over use of its full stimulus grant award.

CSX Chairman Michael J. Ward and McDonnell (R) met Thursday to discuss the project. "We look forward to working with CSX and the U.S. Department of Transportation to advance new Virginia projects through this agreement," McDonnell said in a statement.

"A key challenge to enhancing passenger rail service is adding the rail capacity necessary to ensure efficient passenger operations, while still maintaining the ability to provide the public benefits associated with moving freight by rail. Virginia and CSX have a long and successful history in adding necessary capacity that improves the rail network in Virginia, and this agreement is a continuation of that cooperative approach," Ward said.

Monday, August 2, 2010

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