RICHMOND – Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today that Virginia’s proposed Atlantic Gateway Project has been selected for a federal FASTLANE grant of $165 million.
Combined resources for the project, including the federal grant, private investment and public funding, total $1.4 billion to address the worst bottlenecks on the I-95 corridor in Northern Virginia, transforming travel along the entire East Coast.
The 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 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. Expanded bus service will also help keep more cars off of the road and shorten commute times.
“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 Governor Terry 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. I thank the USDOT for having the vision to select the Atlantic Gateway project for the FASTLANE grant. The Atlantic Gateway will create jobs and contribute to our efforts to build a new Virginia economy, and we could not have moved forward without this important federal funding.”
The $165 million FASTLANE grant will leverage $565 million in private investments and $710 million in other transportation funds to:
- Build 14 miles of new rail track to improve reliability and capacity for freight, commuter, and passenger rail service, including phase I of the project to unlock rail congestion at Long Bridge
- Extend 95 Express Lanes for seven miles north to the Potomac River and improve access to the Pentagon
- Extend the 95 Express Lanes 10 miles south to Fredericksburg to alleviate backups at the current southern terminus
- Construct a new southbound bridge on I-95 across the Rappahannock River
- Provide dedicated on-going reinvestment in expanded bus service in the corridor to ensure that all populations have access to jobs, education and health care services
- Add new commuter parking, technology upgrades and truck parking along the corridor
- Build pavement for autonomous vehicle enhancement; this will provide the infrastructure to test and deploy driverless cars
- Acquire the S-line, an abandoned rail corridor that runs from North Carolina to the Richmond area, from CSX to provide public ownership of a corridor key for future Southeast High Speed Rail.
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. Our selection is the result of support and cooperation from elected officials, local and regional leaders, chambers of commerce, the transportation industry, our private sector partners, and many others who clearly see the Atlantic Gateway project is absolutely essential to Northern Virginia and Virginia’s long-term economic competitiveness. This grant will allow the Commonwealth to transform the 95 corridor into a true multimodal corridor that better manages traffic and increases travel choices for people and goods.”
The Virginia Department of Transportation and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation are ready to work with the private industry and the state’s partners in federal, state and local governments to build improvements.
The program will move to construction in phases, and portions will start as early as 2017. Much of the upfront environmental and engineering work is complete or underway.
The award, made under USDOT’s FASTLANE competitive grant program, is part of a $4.6 billion, 5-year program created by the FAST Act, which was signed into law in December 2015 and makes large-scale national investments to improve freight and highway mobility across the United States. Every grant under the program will be subject to a 60-day congressional review before final grant awards are announced.