Buttigieg, Cooper Break Ground On New Raleigh-to-Richmond Rail Line

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Gov. Roy Cooper broke ground Monday on a new high-speed rail line that will link Raleigh to Richmond, marking the project’s first phase, which includes constructing a bridge to carry Durant Road over a railroad line.  

The $1.3 billion project funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the largest grant ever received by the NC Department of Transportation. It will provide passenger service between downtown Raleigh and Wake Forest by 2030 and is the first leg of a planned high-speed rail connection between Raleigh, Richmond, Virginia, and the Northeast.  

“This is the beginning of a new chapter in passenger rail in North Carolina and really one of the biggest projects that we’re supporting anywhere in the country,” Buttigieg told reporters.  

The stop marked the first on Buttigieg’s national summer construction tour. He will visit Winston-Salem on Tuesday where he will participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Salem Parkway multi-use path. Buttigieg will then return to Durham, which recently received a $12 million federal grant to improve 33 downtown intersections.  

Cooper highlighted the role of passenger rail in improving connectivity and reducing carbon emissions during Monday’s ceremony. “It helps reduce carbon emissions and helps us to save our planet as well as providing a great opportunity for people to get from one place to the next in a better way,” said Cooper.  

“We know cutting down travel times in that arena is going to make it even better for our economy and make it better for the people in North Carolina,” Cooper said.   

The Raleigh-to-Richmond rail project will use the existing S-Line rail corridor, a freight rail corridor currently owned by CSX. Virginia has already acquired its portion of the line, and North Carolina officials are finalizing a deal to purchase the corridor in our state. 

In May, the White House announced that it has allocated nearly $454 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to over 56,000 projects around the country since the passage of the $1 trillion bill in 2021. 

North Carolina is set to receive $9.4 billion in funding from the law for 512 projects, according to the White House. The funding includes about $633 million for clean water projects, with $175 million going toward replacing toxic lead pipes, according to a fact sheet released by the White House in May.   

“North Carolina has done very well in investments from the federal government with this bipartisan infrastructure legislation,” said Cooper. “I’m so grateful that President Biden got this and other major pieces of legislation through that really are generational investments that will help our children and our children’s children.”

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