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High-Speed Raleigh-to-Richmond Rail

In tackling greenhouse gas emissions, it’s a good idea to have more than one tool in your toolbox. Fortunately, switching to electric vehicles is not the only way to reduce carbon pollution from transportation. Another is President Biden’s favorite: rail.

We’re happy to report the federal government has awarded North Carolina and Virginia a $58 million infrastructure grant to help build the Raleigh-to-Richmond high-speed passenger rail line. The improved 162-mile section of track will knock an hour off the travel time between the two cities, serve as part of the envisioned high-speed route between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, and eventually host commuter rail between Raleigh and its northern suburbs.  

Gov. Roy Cooper and U.S. Rep. David Price joined Biden Administration officials for the grant’s announcement last Thursday. It’s the largest federal grant for passenger rail improvements this year. “There is no formula for healthy and balanced growth in our region that does not include transportation diversification and rail in particular,” said Price of the project. 

The grant will pay for engineering work needed to produce the track improvements between Petersburg, VA, and Wake Forest. This project is part of the administration’s larger strategy of building up the nation’s passenger and freight rail capacity. Trains are a more efficient and environmentally friendly way to travel on a regional basis than by highway, and remain more affordable than air travel. This grant was one of 46 projects, totaling $368 million, announced last week as part of the national Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program contained in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

“Passenger rail represents an affordable way for millions of Americans to travel between cities for work, to visit families and more, while freight rail helps to get essential goods to our store shelves with lower costs and a lower carbon footprint than most other modes of transportation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.  

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