1 Billion Dollar Rail Grant For North Carolina

RTA members and partners,

Last week, U.S Senator Thom Tillis announced a $1 billion+ USDOT / FRA grant for the Raleigh to Richmond S-Line Corridor. The $1,000,000,000+ federal grant will enable NCDOT to extend North Carolina’s existing Charlotte to Raleigh “Piedmont” passenger train service north of Raleigh to Wake Forest. This is a transformational investment for North Carolina and jump starts the regional business community’s longstanding desire to “connect the capitals” of Raleigh, Richmond, and Washington, DC. with enhanced, higher speed, passenger rail service.

The White House released a fact sheet on December 8, stating “The Raleigh to Richmond (R2R) Innovating Rail Program Phases IA and II project will receive up to $1.1 billion to build … parts of the Southeast Corridor from Raleigh to Wake Forest, North Carolina, including new and upgraded track, eleven grade separations and closure of multiple at-grade crossings. The investment will improve system and service performance by developing a resilient and reliable passenger rail route that will also contribute to freight and supply chain resiliency in the southeastern U.S. The proposed project is part of a multi-phased effort to develop a new passenger rail route between Raleigh, North Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia, and better connect the southern states to DC and the Northeast Corridor. Once completed, this new route will save passengers an estimated 90 minutes per trip.”

“It’s a generational undertaking. It won’t get done overnight but it will be done swiftly and with this funding, North Carolina will be able to bring that new transit service connecting Raleigh to Wake Forest, upgrading tracks, improving safety at several railroad crossings, and laying the groundwork for a key section of the Southeast Corridor,” said US Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “Broadly the reason why developing nations have rail networks and passenger rail is that it lifts up the entire economy. It creates more affordable and consistent ways for people to get to where they’re going, and gives people a choice … And for those who can’t or don’t have a car or drive, it opens up chances for them to earn a better living to contribute.”

Kudos to NCDOT for their decades-long devotion to smart, scalable, and strategic planning and investments in high performance passenger and freight rail infrastructure for North Carolina. Similar kudos to the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (Va. DRPT); like North Carolina, they also received their largest federal intercity passenger rail grant ever, with more than $700m in improvements from Washington, D.C. to Richmond that will benefit the entire Southeast Corridor in Virginia and North Carolina.

Let’s get moving,



Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director


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