By Dave Trinkle and Ray Ferris
On Jan. 31, a team from Roanoke traveled to Richmond to discuss the city’s legislative package with members of the General Assembly. While there, we focused on the proposed transportation bill and specifically the inclusion of returning passenger rail service to Roanoke as a high priority for the Roanoke and New River Valley regions.
While the governor’s transportation proposal is not perfect, it is the first real proposal in decades to provide consistent, steady and secure funding for rail, highways, bikeways, sidewalks and transportation infrastructure. The inclusion of a dedicated revenue source for passenger rail not only benefits the Roanoke Valley but service throughout Virginia as the state now needs to fund Amtrak intra-state services. Virginia could soon have Amtrak to all regions, but without a dedicated funding source, passenger rail service will come to an end.
Trinkle and Ferris are members of Roanoke City Council.