(Virginia Railway Express)
Virginia will receive $100 million in federal funding to help alleviate rail congestion and delays by constructing a passenger rail bridge in a busy train corridor in Northern Virginia.
The funding will go to the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority to design and build the Franconia-Springfield Bypass, an elevated rail bridge south of the Franconia-Springfield station that will separate passenger trains from the existing freight tracks.
The goal is to increase the capacity for passenger service, such as the Virginia Railway Express, and get rid of a bottleneck for both passenger and freight service. Construction is expected to begin next year and end in 2026.
“Expanding passenger rail as an alternative to interstate travel is critical as traffic congestion in Northern Virginia continues to grow at an unsustainable rate,” said DJ Stadtler, the authority’s executive director, in a statement. “Building the Franconia-Springfield Bypass will allow us to expand our state-supported rail service by alleviating train interference at the most congested point in Virginia – between Fredericksburg and Washington, DC.”
The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority began planning improvements to the existing rail corridor between the Franconia-Springfield VRE station and Lorton in 2021. The authority is also coordinating its plans with another project to add a third line for the roughly 8-mile stretch between Alexandria and Lorton.
The $100 million in funding for the $405 million project comes from the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program, the bipartisan infrastructure law and the federal government’s 2022 spending bill, according to a Thursday announcement from Democratic U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner.
“Passenger rail is a vital connector for so many Virginians — carrying people to their work, their families, and their travel plans,” said the senators in a statement. “We’re thrilled to see this funding make rail safer and more efficient for Virginians by addressing a critical chokepoint in a vital location, alleviating congestion for hundreds of Virginians every single day.”
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