NC Governor Roy Cooper joined US Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg at Raleigh Union Station in early December to announce the S-Line, a faster passenger rail route between Raleigh and Richmond. The $1.09 billion discretionary federal grant is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law championed by President Biden.
“Passenger rail is booming in North Carolina as people look for safer, faster and more affordable transportation,” said Governor Cooper. “We are investing in our growing passenger rail options and this federal grant is a game-changer that will make it easier than ever to travel to Richmond, Washington, DC and the Northeast.”
“Under President Biden, we are finally delivering the world-class passenger rail service that Americans ought to have,” said Pete Buttigieg. “We’re making it faster, easier, and more affordable for people to visit friends and family, and travel for business. And we’re doing it all while creating a new generation of good-paying jobs.”
“This project embodies our vision for a multimodal transportation system that works well for everyone,” said N.C. Transportation Secretary Joey Hopkins. “We envision residents in rural and urban communities will have access to a reliable regional rail service, with seamless and safe first and last mile connections to key destinations.”
Governor Cooper and Secretary Buttigieg were joined by Congresswoman Deborah Ross, Congresswoman Valerie Foushee, former Congressman David Price, Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, Apex Mayor Jacques Gilbert and other local elected officials and passenger rail advocates.
The Federal Railroad Administration grant awarded to the N.C. Department of Transportation will be used to complete the initial phase of the Raleigh to Richmond Innovating Rail Program, which includes construction on the S-Line rail corridor from Raleigh to Wake Forest. The $1.09 billion grant marks the largest grant the NCDOT has received to date.
The S-Line rail corridor is a freight line, owned by CSX, that connects Richmond and Raleigh on the federally-designated Southeast Corridor. Virginia has already acquired the line in their state from CSX, and North Carolina officials are working to finish a deal to purchase the corridor in North Carolina.
Officials will use the $1.09 billion grant for final engineering design, right of way acquisition and construction costs for the section of the S-Line from Raleigh to Wake Forest. The money will also be used on new and upgraded track, replacement of at-grade crossings with highway/rail overpasses.