The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has completed the Tier II Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the 123-mile section of the Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor from Washington, D.C., to south of Richmond, Va.
The Preferred Alternative in the DEIS prepared by the FRA with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) will:
- reduce passenger and freight congestion and improve on-time performance south of the nation’s Capital;
- accommodate planned and funded Virginia Rail Express (VRE) growth of four new round-trip trains and forecasted CSX freight growth through 2045, which is expected to double from approximately 21 trains in 2015 to 42 in 2045;
- increase maximum train speeds from 69 mph to 79 mph between D.C. and Fredericksburg and to 90 mph between Fredericksburg and Richmond; and
- add nine new round-trip trains from D.C. to Richmond, with four continuing east to Hampton Roads and four south to Raleigh.
“Moving people and goods as quickly and as safely as possible is an important cornerstone of the Federal Rail Administration’s mission,” said Heath Hall, FRA deputy administrator. “As this project moves forward, it’s critical that we receive feedback from potential passengers and the public at large.”
FRA and DRPT are accepting public comments on the DEIS for 60 days. Based on public comments on the DEIS and the Preferred Alternative, DRPT and FRA will prepare a Final EIS (FEIS), which will list environmental commitments to mitigate unavoidable impacts.
The total cost of the project is approximately $5 billion. No funding commitments have been made for construction.