The top freight and intercity rail priority for the Regional Transportation Alliance business coalition is to highlight the benefits to commerce of our existing freight rail infrastructure and support ongoing improvements to shared freight and intercity passenger rail infrastructure between Raleigh, Durham, and Charlotte.
RTA is also supporting the timely completion of environmental studies for proposed new intercity passenger rail between Raleigh, Petersburg, and Richmond, Virginia, and the staged implementation of higher speed rail and high performance rail along the corridor, including linkages to Northern Virginia, Washington, DC, the Northeast Corridor (NEC), and the Hampton Roads area.
Our existing freight rail infrastructure — operated by the Class I railroads and a series of short lines and regional railroads — are the backbone of intercity commerce and freight movements in the United States and complement freight operations on the nation’s highway network. Passenger rail utilizes portions of this track and provides intercity service through shared freight-passenger rail operations.
In North Carolina, several of our largest cities and towns, including Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham, and Cary, are directly served by the North Carolina Railroad Company, a private company owned by the State. A series of intercity passenger trains operate daily between Raleigh and Charlotte along the NC Railroad corridor, with some continuing south to Florida and north to New York along CSX trackage. More than $500 million in new federal funds are currently being applied to the entire Charlotte to Raleigh corridor to improve reliability for passenger service. Existing and expanding freight operations will also benefit from the capacity improvements.