Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced that the state’s proposed Atlantic Gateway Project has been selected for a federal FASTLANE grant of US$165m from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT), which will address the worst bottlenecks on the I-95 corridor in Northern Virginia, transforming travel along the entire East Coast.
The award, made under USDOT’s FASTLANE (Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies) competitive grant program, is part of a US$4.6bn, 5-year program created by the FAST Act, which makes large-scale national investments to improve freight and highway mobility across the USA.
The Virginia grant is subject to a 60-day congressional review. The multi-modal project will enhance passenger and freight rail along the corridor, improving reliability and capacity on the East Coast’s rail network, and increase bus service. The I-95 Express Lanes will be extended both to the north and south, offering commuters a reliable trip from Fredericksburg to the Potomac River, and points in between. An expanded bus service will also help keep more cars off of the road and shorten commute times.
Combined resources for the project, including the federal grant, US$565m in private investment and US$710m of public funding, total US$1.4bn. The program will move to construction in phases, and portions will start as early as 2017. The Atlantic Gateway Project will:
Build 14 miles (22.5km) of new rail track to improve reliability and capacity for freight, commuter, and passenger rail service;
Extend the I-95 Express Lanes by 17 miles (27.4km);
Build pavement for autonomous vehicle enhancement, which will provide the infrastructure to test and deploy driverless cars;
Construct a new southbound bridge on I-95 across the Rappahannock River;
Provide dedicated on-going reinvestment in expanded bus services in the corridor;
Add new commuter parking, technology upgrades and truck parking along the corridor;
Acquire the S-line, an abandoned rail corridor, for future Southeast High Speed Rail.
“Winning this significant federal grant will allow Virginia to move forward on a project that will transform travel conditions and stimulate economic growth across our Commonwealth,” said McAuliffe. “Our administration worked with federal, state, local and private sector parties to submit a package of transportation improvements that will have far-reaching benefits for everyone who travels the Commonwealth, whether by car, bus or train.
Transportation leaders came to the table with one clear goal: improve travel in the most heavily traveled corridor in the Southeast by investing in road and rail improvements to move people and commerce more efficiently, not only through Virginia, but also from Florida to New York. We could not have moved forward without this important federal funding.”
Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne added, “Our team has worked for two years to develop the Atlantic Gateway project for consideration under the FASTLANE grant program. This grant will allow the Commonwealth to transform the I-95 corridor into a true multimodal corridor that better manages traffic and increases travel choices for people and goods.”