The following is a release from Governor McDonnell:
"Standing on the Railside Amphitheater, Governor Bob McDonnell today announced that the Commonwealth of Virginia, Norfolk Southern, Amtrak and the City of Roanoke have joined together to start work to extend Amtrak Virginia regional intercity passenger rail service from Lynchburg to Roanoke. It has been 34 years since intercity passenger rail has served the City of Roanoke. The return of passenger rail to Roanoke is a result of the passage this past session of the General Assembly of Virginia’s first major transportation funding plan in nearly three decades. The governor was joined at today’s announcement by local elected officials including Roanoke Mayor David Bowers, state leaders including Thelma Drake, Director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, and rail officials including Charles W. Moorman, CEO of Norfolk Southern and Joe McHugh from Amtrak.
“For many years, the citizens of Roanoke and the Valley have asked when intercity passenger rail will return,” said Governor McDonnell. “I am pleased to announce today that the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, through its partnership with Norfolk Southern, Amtrak and the City of Roanoke, will begin work on bringing service back to this historic railroad city. This achievement is a direct result of the bipartisan effort this past winter to pass Virginia’s first major transportation funding plan in over a generation. We had gone far too long without investing the necessary resources in our roads and railways. This infrastructure is crucial to future job creation and economic growth in our state. With the passage of that bill, we’re cutting a lot of ribbons. We’re building new roads and railways all around the Commonwealth. All of this will lead to new jobs for our citizens, and a more prosperous Virginia. And right here in Roanoke, it means the return of intercity passenger rail service to the Star City. ”
“The signing into law of the Governor’s transportation bill provided a dedicated funding source for intercity passenger rail, which can be used for capital and the expansion of service,” said Transportation Secretary Sean T. Connaughton. “The administration placed a high priority on extending Amtrak Virginia to Roanoke as a viable transportation option for travel to cities along the Northeast Corridor."