Cost estimates and timing still in flux for New River Valley passenger rail

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 7:21 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Work continues on the plan to extend passenger rail to the New River Valley, but state officials are still determining how much it will cost and when the service might start.

Members of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority Board received a briefing Thursday morning.

Among the issues planners are still working through include safety improvements to the Merrimac Tunnel, and the massive amount of rock that must be cleared to reach the proposed station at the New River Valley Mall.

Jennifer DeBruhl is Chair of the VPRA Board.

“We knew that there were some risks from the beginning, but you don’t know what you don’t know at that point,” DeBruhl said during the meeting. “And so now that we’re starting to see those risks much more clearly, we want to manage expectations of the community about the timing of when we can get to the New River Valley.”

State officials say they are committed to reaching the New River Valley with passenger rail. They expect to know more about the cost and the timing by the end of the year.