WASHINGTON — (CNN) U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx says building a high-speed railroad between D.C. and Richmond tops his list of priorities as the Obama administration wraps up its term. This week he awarded a $1 million planning grant for the project, saying it’s time to get this rail line built.
Foxx spoke at Virginians for High Speed Rail’s 21st annual transportation luncheon. The group’s executive director Danny Plaugher said they invited the secretary to highlight to him the importance of building high-speed rail along that busy section of the I-95 corridor.
“I-95 between D.C. and Richmond is very congested. It’s gonna continue to be so, and so we believe that inter-city and high-speed rail between those two destinations as an extension is vital for the economic prosperity of the commonwealth,” said Plaugher.
Highways in Virginia have only grown 5 percent over the last 20 years, according to Plaugher, but the number of miles people are driving on the highways has increased six times faster. At the same time the number of flights at the state’s airports are down 24 percent, while passengers per flight is up 130 percent.
“So when you look at our transportation system as a whole there’s a huge void for that intermediate travel, the 100 mile, the 300 mile trips, which is perfect by train,” Plaugher added.
The secretary’s announcement moves the project forward.
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