WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday in support of Virginia’s joint application with Amtrak for matching funds to improve passenger rail service.
The National Surface Transportation Board recommended retiring several railcars since some are over 40 years old. Now, Virginia senators are pushing for funding under DOT’s Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program to help modernize Amtrak’s fleet and improve ride quality for Virginians.
Virginia is one of 17 states and regional authorities to fund the state-sponsored Amtrak business lines of service, which account for nearly 50 percent of total Amtrak ridership nationwide.
“Maintaining and repairing current equipment is costly in terms of both safety and efficiency. New railcars will provide safer, better, and more reliable mobility,” the Senators wrote in their letter to DOT Secretary Elaine Chao. “This funding, in conjunction with Virginia's numerous high priority passenger rail projects, will help make state-sponsored service a more reliable and pleasant transportation alternative.”
In FY2019, nearly one million individuals used the Amtrak Northeast Regional service, the highest number of riders recorded in the Commonwealth’s history. Stops along the Northeast corridor include Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond, and Roanoke.
View the full letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation below: