NC Investing $3.5 Million In Railroad Lines
From Staff And Wire Reports
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
RALEIGH - The State of North Carolina has announced that it is investing $2 million dollars to protect railroad right of ways used by short line private railroads, but also that it has received $1.5 million from the State of Virginia to continue to push for a high speed rail lines to run from Washington DC to Charlotte, NC.
Grant From VA On High Speed Rail
The N.C. Department of Transportation's Rail Division has received a $1.5 million grant from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation through Virginia's Rail Enhancement Fund to continue work on the Southeast High Speed Rail project.
Awarded late last year by the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board, the grant will help fund completion of the bi-state Tier II Environmental Impact Statement for the Richmond, Virginia to Raleigh, NC portion of the corridor.
"This grant, which allows the project to move forward, speaks to the ongoing cooperative effort between North Carolina and Virginia to develop transportation alternatives," said Patrick B. Simmons, NCDOT Rail Division Director in a released statement.
The draft document for the is expected to be completed in late 2009. A Record of Decision on the plan, which identified the preferred overall corridor from Washington, DC to Charlotte, NC, was awarded by the Federal Railroad Administration in June of 2002.
According to the NC DOT, North Carolina and Virginia have been working together to complete the necessary engineering and environmental documentation required to advance the Southeast High Speed Rail project, which would provide improved passenger and freight rail service between the nation's capital and Charlotte.
As described by the state, the Southeast High Speed Rail service would "provide business and leisure travelers with an alternate transportation option for trips between 100-500 miles with top speeds of 110 miles per hour. The project calls for the system to be developed incrementally, upgrading existing rail right of way. For more information, visit www.sehsr.org.
$2 Million For NC Railroads
The N.C. Board of Transportation also announced that it has awarded more than $2 million in state funds to 11 small freight railroads through the Short Line Infrastructure Assistance Program.
"The grants will be used to help with track maintenance and improvements," said the board in a released statement.
Grant recipients were spread across the entire state and a complete list of grants recipients and project summaries appears at the end of this article.
"The investments we make to improve and maintain our rail infrastructure are incentive for industries to locate or expand in our state," said Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett. "It is vital that we continue to invest in our various modes of transportation to serve our citizens and attract and retain employers."
According to the state, the money will be used to assist 11 railroads that will directly benefit 21 counties and 97 companies employing more than 4,100 people across the state.
Twenty-one short lines currently operate about 775 miles or 24 percent of freight railroads in North Carolina, says the state.
The freight rail projects were ranked based on public and project benefits. Individual grants range from $20,000 awarded to the Atlantic & Western Railway to repair and upgrade track between Sanford and Cumnock to $499,900 awarded to the Aberdeen Carolina & Western Railway to repair 29 miles of track between Charlotte and west of Oakboro.
Recipients included the Aberdeen Carolina and Western Railway, the Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad, the Alexander Railroad, the Alexander and Western Railway, the Caldwell County Railroad, the Carolina Coastal Railway, the Carolina Coastal Railway, the Carolina Southern Railway, the Laurinburg & Southern Railroad, the Nash County Railroad, the Wilmington Terminal Railroad, and the Yadkin Valley Railroad. ::