Senator Thom Tillis announced on December 5th that $3.5 million in grant funding has been allocated for identifying potential new rail routes or improvements across North Carolina. The grant, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, aims to transform how North Carolinians travel. The funds will support the initial steps of the program, enabling the development of a plan and the formulation of a scope, schedule, and cost estimate for the identified corridors.
Among the corridors awarded grants is the proposed Wilmington to Raleigh corridor. This corridor intends to connect Raleigh and Wilmington, providing new service on an existing alignment. Part of the alignment has been abandoned and would require reconstruction, including the addition of new stations.
Other awardees and proposed corridors include:
- Charlotte to Washington, DC Corridor: This proposed corridor focuses on improvements to the existing state-supported Carolinian service between Charlotte, NC, and Washington, DC. It addresses infrastructure capacity constraints and includes constructing/rehabilitating a partially abandoned alignment between Raleigh, NC, and Petersburg, VA.
- Charlotte to Atlanta, Georgia Corridor: This corridor envisions new high-speed rail service on a new alignment connecting Charlotte, NC, and Atlanta, GA. Potential intermediate stops include Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in South Carolina and Augusta and Athens, GA, with the final destination being Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
- Charlotte to Kings Mountain Corridor: The proposed corridor seeks to connect Kings Mountain, NC, to Charlotte, NC. It envisions new service on an existing alignment with capacity improvements west of the Charlotte Gateway Station.
- Winston-Salem to Raleigh Corridor: This corridor aims to connect Winston-Salem, NC, with Raleigh, NC, featuring intermediate stops at Greensboro, Burlington, Durham, and Cary. It complements existing state-supported Piedmont and Carolinian services, offering new frequencies, reliability improvements, and new stations.
- Fayetteville to Raleigh Corridor: This proposed corridor aims to provide new service connecting Fayetteville, NC, with Raleigh, NC. Intermediate stops are planned at Lillington and Fuquay-Varina, NC, using an existing alignment.
- Asheville to Salisbury Corridor: The proposed corridor intends to provide new service on an existing alignment between Asheville and Salisbury in western North Carolina, reviving a line that last hosted passenger trains in 1975.
These grant-funded initiatives mark a significant step toward enhancing rail connectivity in North Carolina and improving transportation options for residents across the state.