RICHMOND — Two Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) projects — including the Newport News Transportation Center — received a combined $3.2 million in federal funding last month after Congress passed its fiscal 2023 Government Funding Legislation.
The Newport News Transportation Center received $1.2 million from the legislation. Construction began on the $47 million facility in July 2020 and it is expected to welcome its first travelers in late 2023. The center will serve Amtrak, with two state-supported roundtrips daily and a third roundtrip slated to be added in 2026, per agreements between VPRA, CSX, and Amtrak.
The center will also serve taxis, expanded bus service and shuttles to and from the Newport News/Williamsburg Airport, according to VPRA. It will offer modern amenities, more parking, will be energy efficient and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant.
The center is a partnership between the City of Newport News, VPRA, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
VPRA said the project, along with the New River Valley Passenger Service Extension, will have a positive impact on Amtrak Virginia’s rail service, which continues to set ridership records.
Ridership in November 2022 topped 112,800 passengers, a 37.7% increase over (pre-pandemic) 2019, and the highest November ridership since Virginia launched its state-supported service in 2009, VPRA said.
“The support rail received in this legislation shows bipartisan support for including rail as a part of our transportation network,” said DJ Stadtler, Executive Director of VPRA. “Here in the commonwealth, we are working to not only provide high-quality passenger rail service and facilities to communities we currently serve, such as Newport News, but to expand service to communities that currently do not have rail service like the New River Valley. With ridership continuing to grow there is a definite need for more rail options.”
The New River Valley Passenger Extension received $2 million to support the extension of passenger rail from Roanoke through the New River Valley to Christiansburg for the first time since 1979. VPRA plans to improve the existing rail infrastructure which will allow for passenger rail service to the New River Valley as soon as 2026.
Nearly $200 million in total was dedicated to Virginia in Congressionally-Directed Spending to fund local community projects, according to a VPRA announcement.
For more information on these and all of VPRA’s projects, please visit our website at vapassengerrailauthority.org.