Raleigh - The North Carolina Board of Transportation adopted the 2015 Comprehensive State Rail Plan at its meeting on Aug. 5, 2015. The Rail Plan was created to identify near- and long-term freight, passenger, and safety projects in addition to other rail initiatives that will help better serve our communities, businesses, and industries. These projects will enhance the value and effectiveness of our freight and passenger rail systems, which contribute approximately $1.88 billion in direct economic impacts to the North Carolina economy each year.
The projects in the Rail Plan will support the delivery of Governor Pat McCrory's 25 Year Vision for North Carolina in addition to providing a framework for prioritizing rail projects statewide based on need. Rail-related goals in the Governor's 25-Year Vision that are incorporated in the State Rail Plan include improvement of rail connections between military bases and ports, service to intermodal facilities to support freight shipping, improved train service to the ports at Wilmington and Morehead City, and rail access to the Global TransPark and our state's inland ports and intermodal facilities. The Rail Plan also includes expansion of transit options, including access to passenger rail service in all regions of the state.
"As our State continues to grow, it is essential to our economy to ensure that our transportation system provides efficient alternatives to move people and goods, and connects North Carolina communities, businesses, and industries with domestic and international markets," said Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson. "Transportation continues to change and the Rail Plan is one tool that helps us transition from where we are to where we need to be."
"The Rail Plan identifies projects that will enhance rail capacity and safety along key corridors to better accommodate growing freight volumes and increased passenger service frequencies to meet demand," said Rail Division Director Paul Worley. "Near-term passenger initiatives such as the implementation of the Piedmont Improvement Program and the 4th and 5th Piedmont frequencies between Raleigh and Charlotte, planning for connecting bus services, and new and improved stations will help continue to build and accommodate increasing passenger ridership, while ensuring the railroads provide efficient freight access throughout our State."
The preparation of rail plans has been a best practice for states in prioritizing freight improvements since the 1970s. This plan was prepared in accordance with Federal Railroad Administration State Rail Plan Guidelines published in September 2013. The North Carolina Comprehensive Rail Plan is available at http://www.ncbytrain.org/projects/rail-plan.html.