Senator Warner Visits Staunton

On a tour through the Shenandoah Valley on March 26, Senator Mark Warner stopped in Staunton to talk with local officials about the future of passenger rail in the region. Amtrak has been awarded $500,000 to identify and study potential improvements to the Cardinal Service which currently serves the Downtown Staunton station three days a week. The study is funded through the Corridor Identification and Development Program with funds allocated to the Federal Railroad Administration from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Amtrak has seen an increase in ridership across the Commonwealth with rail traffic in the Lynchburg-Roanoke corridor up 130 percent. The study will explore the feasibility of expanding the Cardinal route’s service from three to seven days a week. Even with the increase in ridership, improvements are needed to make rail travel in the Commonwealth more accessible and efficient. The Senator noted several challenges along the corridor south of Washington D.C. that cause delays. Many of those delays resulting from trains waiting to access single-track segments, bottlenecks at bridges, and lack of electrified tracks.

Although the event was primarily focused on passenger rail, Senator Warner took questions from those in attendance on a range of topics of interest both locally and nationally such as the war in Ukraine, affordable housing, broadband, inflation, immigration reform, and renewable energy. During the meeting, he shared local accolades, calling out the ongoing Shenandoah Valley Airport project, and the Afton Express and BRITE Transit System. Senator Warner acknowledged Bonnie Riedesel’s recent retirement and thanked her for her many years of service to the region.

The Senator’s trip through the Valley also included stops in Harrisonburg and Buena Vista where he spoke about regionally significant projects.

Posted in News.