On June 4, 2008, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors received an update from Kevin Page , Chief of Rail Transportation, for Virginia’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) .  Supervisors learned that the additional Amtrak daily train route they hoped would connect Lynchburg, VA to Washington, DC, with a stop in Charlottesville, was under review, but that support was not guaranteed and operational funding was currently unavailable.

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The Supervisors passed a resolution supporting the Amtrak route at a meeting last month .  Page explained several aspects of the proposed “business class” passenger train service to the Board:

Page said he understood there was strong interest from the Board of Supervisors for the new passenger rail route and he commented that he had just learned in the meeting that 1,000 defense jobs were being relocated to Charlottesville in the next couple of years.  “If there is a potential for greater ridership, and a connectivity, again it gets back to the transit oriented development communities,” said Page.

“We are not only looking for a rail system, we are looking for a transportation system.  If we are going to get people out of their cars and onto buses and trains, we have to have the connectivity. What I have heard today is that Albemarle County is moving forward with a strategy and a vision…as to how Charlottesville can be more of what we call a pedestrian, transit-friendly community and have those transit oriented developments in place. Obviously enhancing passenger rail is going to have a role in that.”

The Statewide Rail Plan is scheduled to be finalized in October 2008.  DRPT will take public comment on the draft plan in July 2008.

Brian Wheeler

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