Groups want a passenger train route from the ‘Blue Ridge to the beach’

Groups want a passenger train route from the ‘Blue Ridge to the beach’
An Amtrak passenger train crosses the James River in Richmond. (Source: Taber Bain/Flickr/Creative Commons License 2.0)

As a long-awaited higher-speed passenger rail project between Richmond and Washington gets a key federal approval, a coalition of business, higher education, transportation and environmental groups wants the state to study the possibility of connecting the state via east-west passenger rail service.

On Tuesday, the Virginia Department of Rail and Transportation announced that the lengthy environmental impact review for the DC2RVA rail project, which aims to boost passenger and commuter rail capacity and cut travel times along the Interstate 95 corridor, is complete, making the project eligible for federal funding for advanced planning.

“DC2RVA includes a long-term vision for transforming the future of rail in Virginia for generations to come,” said DRPT Director Jennifer Mitchell. “Now that environmental clearance is complete, construction of additional rail capacity in the Northern Virginia region can begin.”

The same day, Virginians for High Speed Rail, Virginia21, the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Roanoke Regional and Hampton Roads chambers of commerce published a report urging the state to come up with a plan to connect “the Blue Ridge to the beach” by train.

The Virginia Mercury is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.