Feds grant $4M for rail development in NC
Posted September 27, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina and Virginia will get over $48 million in federal grant money to develop a high-speed rail link between Raleigh and Washington, D.C.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the funding Tuesday. The goal is ultimately to spur high-speed rail development throughout the southeast, which has seen a population boom in recent decades.
About $4 million of the grant will go to North Carolina for analysis and preliminary engineering on a new connection between Raleigh and Richmond, Va. The aim is to reduce travel time between the cities to around two hours, shaving about 90 minutes off the current schedule.
It could be finished between 2018 and 2022.
Three potential routes for the rail running through downtown Raleigh were killed by public criticism last year, but a fourth plan, which state Department of Transportation officials say addresses previous concerns, was on display for public comment Tuesday.
The new route runs from Interstate 440 to downtown Raleigh, with a bridge taking the tracks over Capital Boulevard and away from residential areas.
Chris Shlenker, who lives downtown, said the current route will be more expensive to build than the previous proposals.
"But it definitely appears to have less impact to downtown," he said.
The high-speed rail would close two downtown roads and require the construction of three new bridges.
Many residents, including Amy Etheridge, said they are still digesting the latest proposal.
"It may or may not impact my quality of life as a downtown resident," she said.
Virginia will get over $44 million towards the construction of a high-speed rail corridor between Richmond and Washington, D.C. The line is eventually expected to run from Boston to Charlotte.