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Petitioning Virginians for High Speed Rail

VHSR Support for Passenger Rail Funding

Resolution in Support of Funding for Virginia’s Intercity Passenger Rail Service

WHEREAS, Virginia has launched two very successful roundtrip Regional trains connecting directly to the Northeast Passenger Rail Corridor; and

WHEREAS, these Regional trains operate along the Richmond-Washington-Boston, and Lynchburg-Washington-Boston corridors; and

WHEREAS, Virginia and Amtrak will extend a roundtrip Regional train from Richmond to Norfolk on December 12, 2012 which will connect the Virginia Golden Crescent to the Northeast Passenger Rail Corridor; and 

WHEREAS, in addition to these two state-sponsored Regional trains, Amtrak operates four additional roundtrip Regional trains. Of the four Regional trains which Amtrak supports, two operate on the Richmond-Washington-Boston corridor, and two more extend from Richmond to Williamsburg and Newport News; and

WHEREAS, by October of 2013, the Commonwealth is federally mandated to assume the operating costs of the four Regional services presently supported by Amtrak; and[i]

WHEREAS, Virginia and Amtrak operate two bus-rail connectors from Lynchburg to Roanoke, and from Newport News to Norfolk and Virginia Beach; and 

WHEREAS, Virginia’s Regional train corridors are rated as two of Amtrak’s top five best performing short trip regional corridors; and[ii]

WHEREAS, ridership on Virginia’s Regional trains have grown by 79.21 percent over the last five years; and[iii]

WHEREAS, passenger rail is the only mode of transportation in the Commonwealth not funded through the Virginia Transportation Trust Fund nor supported with a dedicated, long-term, and sustain funding source; and

WHEREAS, the six Regional trains and two bus-rail connectors offer 74.59 percent of Virginians an efficient and reliable mode of transportation; and[iv]

WHEREAS, Virginia’s population density is going to increase by 38 percent over the next twenty five years; and[v]

WHEREAS, Virginia’s intercity passenger rail trains provide valuable transportation choices and city to city connectivity; and

WHEREAS, Virginia’s regional trains connect 46 higher educational institutions across the Commonwealth representing 448,078 students; and[vi] 

WHEREAS, 26 percent of the millennial generation (ages 16-34) do not possess a driver’s license and vehicle miles traveled among the millennial generation have fallen 23 percent over the last decade; and [vii]

WHEREAS, over the next twenty years Virginia’s senior population is going to grow by 77 percent, and[viii]

WHEREAS, both the millennial generation and Virginia’s seniors increasingly prefer transportation alternatives, and are willing to travel by train; and

WHEREAS, the population in Virginia is expected to grow another 35 percent by 2035; and[ix]

WHEREAS, this population growth means another 2 million residents living along Virginia’s regional rail corridors, and

WHEREAS, congestion along Virginia’s Golden Crescent (Washington-Richmond-Hampton Roads) has increased to the point that commuters living along the corridor spend 229 hours annually commuting to work or sitting in traffic; and[x]

WHEREAS, these congestion delays’ cost the average commuter along Virginia’s Golden Crescent $841 annually; and[xi]

WHEREAS, residents living along the Piedmont Corridor (Washington-Charlottesville-Lynchburg) have few transportation alternatives to travel to Washington, DC and destinations along the Northeast Corridor; and

WHEREAS, the price of automobile fuel has risen 296 percent over the last decade; and[xii]

WHEREAS, Virginians traveling by the Commonwealth’s regional trains to Washington and destinations along the Northeast Corridor from locations in Virginia save an average of 53.81 percent compared to driving; and[xiii]

WHEREAS, Virginia contains the 2nd largest population of active military in the nation with over 327,000 active duty military members or their family members residing in the Commonwealth; and[xiv]

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth is home to 27 military installations and 7 Coast Guard commands; and ix

WHEREAS, enhanced connectivity between Virginia’s military installations to facilities in Greater Washington and the Northeast Corridor by train improves the defense capabilities, military readiness, and emergency preparedness of the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, Virginia’s regional train corridors serve 82.52 percent of the Commonwealth’s economy; and iii

WHEREAS, employment is expected to grow by 50 percent along the Commonwealth’s regional train corridors over the next twenty-five years; and[xv]

WHEREAS, CNBC lowered Virginia’s rating as one of the Best States to Do Business from 1st to 3rd citing a lack of new funding for transportation as a primary reason; and[xvi]

WHEREAS, Virginia’s Regional trains need a sustainable, long-term funding source to ensure their continued operation beyond October 2013; and

WHEREAS, any Regional train service that is lost could cost the Virginia taxpayers billions in infrastructure improvements to reinstate; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth presently does not maintain a dedicated, long-term, and sustainable funding source for passenger rail service; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that I call on Governor Robert McDonnell and members of the General Assembly to secure a dedicated, long-term and sustainable funding source for the Intercity Passenger Rail Operating and Capital Fund.

[i]The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, section 209

[ii] Amtrak Fiscal Year 2011 Ridership and Revenue Report

[iii] The National Passenger Rail Corporation

[iv] The United States of America 2011 Census Update (

[v] Virginia Transportation Research Council, 2035 Socioeconomic and Travel Demand Forecasts for Virginia and Potential Policy Responses, VTrans2035, July 2009

[vi] State Council on Education for Virginia 2011-2012 statistics (

[vii] The Chicago Tribune, “America's Generation Y not driven to drive”, July 1, 2012

[viii] The United States of America 2011 Census Update and Virginia Division for the Aging 2030 estimate (

[ix] Virginia Surface Transportation Plan 2035 (

[x] Virginia Performs Database (

[xi] Texas A&M Transportation Institute 2010Annual Urban Mobility Report

[xii] United States Department of Energy Information, Historical Fuel Prices Report for September 2002-2012

[xiii] Amtrak fares on December 14, 2012 from destinations in Virginia to Washington’s Union Station and New York’s Penn Station compared to paying the Internal Revenue Service’s mileage reimbursement allowance

[xiv] Presentation by Terrie Suit, Secretary of Virginia’s Department of Veteran Affairs and Homeland Security (

[xv] 2035 Virginia Surface Transportation Plan

[xvi] CNBC America’s Top States for Business 2012 (

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