In recent years, the commonwealth of Virginia has been making a big push to implement state-supported Amtrak service in key corridors. Train service to Lynchburg launched in 2009 and Richmond, in 2010. In a few days, intercity passenger trains will begin serving Norfolk. Of course, commonwealth leaders don't have much choice. Airfare from Virginia to Washington, D.C. and beyond is expensive and continues to rise, and growing congestion on the already-constrained Interstate 95 is making automobile travel increasingly stressful and time-consuming. But more than that, commonwealth leaders seem to understand that adding another highway lane isn't going to solve the problem. Offer a stress-free, one-seat ride to D.C., though, and commuters will be lining up for the ride. That kind of thinking has paid off big for the Lynchburg and Richmond services, which together cover their operating costs and then some. Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation leaders are confident the Norfolk service will be just as successful — if not more so. To learn why, read this web-exclusive article posted on ProgressiveRailroading.com.
Let's follow Virginia & North Carolina in their incremental approach to improved and additional Amtrak service. As a conservative Republican, many of my friends and myself consider the term "High Speed Rail" as a dead end objective. The objections are tempered when the incremental approach using existing rail infrastructure is explained. We want a level playing field for all modes of transportation, preferably privately run such as the proposed All Aboard Florida . Short of that,
Amtrak should be provided equal funds that highways and aviation receive.
Shuster seems to be a good replacement for Mica as he understands the need for services such as the new Norfolk service.