High speed rail awarded $545 million

Durham — North Carolina was awarded $545 million in federal recovery funds yesterday for the advancement of high speed rail along the Southeast High Speed Rail (SEHSR) corridor.

The award was announced by Ms. Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, at the new train station in Durham.

The SEHSR project since it was established by the Congress in 1992.

Most of the federal funds at this stage will be used to improve train capacity, speeds, and frequencies between Charlotte and Raleigh.

Virginia received $75 million that will improve train speeds and capacity in the Richmond to Washington, D.C. part of the SEHSR corridor.

Overall Project Information and Updates

The 1000+ page Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) has gone through internal review and is now in the signatory process with FRA. Following FRA’s approval of the DEIS, a limited number of copies of the report will be made available for public review at locations in Virginia and North Carolina. DVD’s of the full report will be prepared for distribution as well, and it will also be posted on the Web.

It is anticipated that public hearings will be held in May (four in Virginia and four in North Carolina). Based on input from the public and the regulatory/resource agencies, a “recommendation report” (which will recommend the preferred corridor in each of the 26 Sections) will be prepared this summer, followed by Final Design and the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), which will continue through 2010 and into 2011.

The project Web site contains information on the project. It is updated periodically as major changes occur and as major work elements progress.