Expanding rail service to more communities in Maryland and D.C. could enhance the benefits of Virginia's recent investments in intercity rail.
On the heels of Virginia's significant investments in intercity rail, a business community think tank calls for a "regional rail vision" that includes Maryland and the District of Columbia that would connect the entire region and maximize the benefits of Virginia's work on rail connectivity, writes Wyatt Gordon in the Virginia Mercury.
The goal is a regional rail service that lets commuters travel directly to D.C. and Baltimore from as far south as Richmond without changing trains, which Representative Don Beyer of Alexandria hopes will translate into a "big increase in ridership." Expanded rail service could "translate into big bucks for households and government coffers across the region." Increased connectivity could yield significant economic benefits for the region and boost access to affordable housing, evening out the pressure of the region's high cost of living. "If convenient commutes become a truly regional commodity, home prices closer to the Capitol may also slow their rapid staggering ascent."
"What we’re trying to do is to create more amenable communities to live or create jobs in throughout our region out of places that today are largely inaccessible unless you drive a car like Fredericksburg or Frederick, Maryland," Greater Washington Partnership's vice president of transportation, Joe McAndrew, told the Virginia Mercury. A major challenge for the regional vision is working across jurisdictions. "We are a complicated region with a lot of different governance structures and don’t always get along," Virginia Passenger Rail Authority board member Sharon Bulova said, "but we are able to come together and get things done."
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