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A Grandiose Vision for Passenger Rail in the New River Valley

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During the National Regional Transportation Conference (June 2019, Columbus, OH), Elijah Sharp shared the work of the New River Valley Regional Commission to plan for passenger rail in the region of Virginia.

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A Grandiose Vision for Passenger Rail in the New River Valley

  1. 1. A GRANDIOSE VISION FOR Passenger Rail in the NRV
  2. 2. VIRGINIA’S NEW RIVER VALLEY
  3. 3. COLLABORATIVE EFFORT
  4. 4. IN THE BEGINNING…
  5. 5. HISTORY •1854: First passenger rail service in the NRV •1960’s: 12 daily passenger trains •1979: End of services
  6. 6. 1960S…
  7. 7. 1970S…
  8. 8. PRE - 1900S
  9. 9. PASSENGER RAIL IN VIRGINIA
  10. 10. Establish a collaborative effort for NRV passenger rail Identify a preferred site location Receive State funds for infrastructure study from DRPT Develop a ownership and maintenance strategy Infrastructure evaluation PROGRESS TOWARDS 2020 GOAL
  11. 11. DOCUMENTING THE DEMAND • Survey (nearly 6,200 responses) • Behaviors of local generated trips • Potential of inbound trips • Ridership data (Amtrak, Megabus, etc.) • Student home zip code data • Census, Weldon Cooper, etc.
  12. 12. DEMAND DRIVER - UNIVERSITIES • 10,000+ faculty/staff • 40,000+ students • 10,000+ families live points north • Business relationships in DC area • 100,000+ annual visitors to football, graduation, and other university-related events
  13. 13. VT student ‘home’ zip codes
  14. 14. VT student ‘home’ zip codes
  15. 15. EVALUATING INFRASTRUCTURE • State Funding request incorporated extending passenger service to State Line • 2015: Coal exports fell 35%, 13.5M tons/year • NS Capable of moving 36M tons/year • Within 60 minutes of Christiansburg location: • 194,511 households • 220,882 jobs (60.5% white collar, 39.5% blue collar) • 120,378 low income population • 73,099 households with 1-vehicle or less • According to VTC, in 2014 Blacksburg was Virginia’s most visited town/city
  16. 16. STATION OWNERSHIP & MAINTENANCE • Identify preferred ownership and operational strategy • Evaluate how others do business • Explore local partnership models • Evaluate known cost factors • Initial site construction • Facilities annual maintenance
  17. 17. INTERCITY RAIL STATION POLICY
  18. 18. CHRISTIANSBURG SITE CONCEPT $3.5M
  19. 19. CHRISTIANSBURG SITE CONCEPT $6.0M
  20. 20. CHRISTIANSBURG SITE CONCEPT $4.2M
  21. 21. CHRISTIANSBURG COST FACTORS Description Estimate Cost (annual) Water/Sewer/Solid Waste $3,000 Stormwater $2,000 Power $23,000 Internet $1,500 Staffing $27,000 Parking Lot Maintenance (10-yr resurfacing) $3,500 Parking Lot Maintenance (sweeping + snow) $10,000 Subtotal: $70,000 30-yr Debt Service ($4.23M + $250k PID): $290,000 Total: $360,000
  22. 22. Ownership Models • Town ownership & operation (common) • Town + public/private partners (MOUs) • Regional Authority (familiar to NRV) • Limited Liability Company (LLC) • Corporation (Corp, Inc, or Ltd) STATION OWNERSHIP & MAINTENANCE
  23. 23. • New River Valley Passenger Rail Authority • Initial membership by invitation • Enabling legislation required OWNERSHIP & MAINTENANCE PLAN
  24. 24. REVENUE SCENARIO PLANNING FACTORS • Population • Weldon Cooper Center • On-campus beds • Potential Ridership • Public survey • Faculty, student, and resident weighting • Proximity • As-the-crow-flies, geographic centers • Relativity and Combination Factors • Simplified Shared Cost
  25. 25. REVENUE SCENARIO PLANNING FACTORS Simplification-Based Scenario #1: Locally Preferred Revenue Plan MontgomeryCounty TownofBlacksburg VirginiaTech Townof Christiansburg PulaskiCounty TownofPulaski CityofRadford RadfordUniversity GilesCounty FloydCounty 78.00% 3.00% 1.00% 14.50% 1.75% 1.75% $69,746.06 $69,746.06 $69,746.06 $69,746.06 $10,730.16 $3,576.72 $25,931.23 $25,931.23 $6,259.26 $6,259.26
  26. 26. • DRPT and Rail Carrier • Identify infrastructure needs to add 1 new train daily • DRPT and Amtrak • Negotiate fees for service • Local partners • Pass enabling legislation to for new Authority • Show major progress by 2020 SO, WHAT’S NEXT?
  27. 27. questions? Elijah Sharp Deputy Executive Director New River Valley Regional Commission (540) 639-9313 esharp@nrvrc.org

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