The Project and Alexandria Fourth Track, which are key components of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority’s (VPRA’s) Transforming Rail in Virginia Program, have reached a critical milestone with the advancement into the Project Development phase of the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA’s) Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Core Capacity program. This important step grants VPRA pre-award authority for reimbursable Project Development activities.

For the purpose of this grants program, the Long Bridge Project and Alexandria Fourth Track are bundled together under one title: “The Northern Virginia Core Capacity Project.” The Northern Virginia Core Capacity Project also includes construction of new train storage and acquisition of up to three additional trainsets. Core capacity projects are corridor-based capital investments that increase capacity in corridors that are at capacity today or will be in 5 years.

Passenger and freight rail operators within the Long Bridge Project corridor include Amtrak, Virginia Railway Express (VRE) and CSX Transportation (CSXT). Annually, up to 1.3 million Amtrak passengers and 4.5 million VRE commuters travel on the current Long Bridge. Under normal circumstances, the bridge functions at 98 percent capacity during peak periods, preventing the District, Virginia, and Maryland from increasing passenger and commuter rail service for their communities.

The Long Bridge Project, Alexandria Fourth Track, and other improvement projects under Transforming Rail in Virginia will enable the Commonwealth to double its state-supported Amtrak passenger rail service, significantly increase VRE commuter rail service by 2030, and make way for potential future run-through commuter rail service connecting Virginia and Maryland.