Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I-81 and the Rail Road.

In todays News Virginian is an interesting story, something other than about snow. It covers a $75,000 Virginia government funded study and report about the feasibility of rail being the answer to truck congestion on interstate 81, a main artery between the lower and upper halves of the eastern seaboard. The report centers around and endorses the Crescent Corridor project, which is a rail line that was started in 2008 and scheduled to be completed in 2012 and creates a connection between New Orleans and Memphis, Tennessee with New Jersey. Currently, Virginia sees a lot of traffic on I-81 as freight is carried between these destinations. The report suggests that the Corridor project could cut about 13%-14% of the trucks off of I-81.

The trucks and congestion on I-81 have been an issue for many years, and this problem continues to grow. The amount of trucks and individual motorists on the popular highway is increasing beyond the rates previously predicted.

This rail project would individually impact us here in Augusta, Waynesboro, and Staunton because our area is a favorite stop for these trucks, and when they stop, they spend their money. Therefore, this issue has two sides. One, the safety of decreased traffic on I-81 and the loss of outside revenue from the trucks. Something to think about.

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