The railroad system between Charlotte and Raleigh will be upgraded using $461 million in federal funds, a project expected to create more than 4,000 jobs in North Carolina.
Gov. Bev Perdue said today that the state has reached an agreement — approved by the Federal Railroad Administration, triggering the release of federal stimulus program funding — with Norfolk Southern Railway Co., Amtrak and N.C. Railroad Co. that allows construction to begin on the railroad modernization program.
The funds will be used for upgrades to tracks between the two cities, bridges and crossing safety improvements, station expansions in four cities along the route and construction of a maintenance facility in Charlotte.
The work involves 24 construction projects in 11 counties, from adding double tracks between Charlotte and Greensboro and building a dozen new bridges to eliminating 30 highway crossings. The funding also will be used to improve the speed and reliability of passenger service, add a fourth daily round trip between Charlotte and Raleigh and refurbish locomotives and rail cars.
Under the agreement, Norfolk Southern, which leases the line between Raleigh and Charlotte from the state-owned N.C. Railroad Co., will work with the state to design and construct the improvements.
“Rail is a critical component in North Carolina’s economic development infrastructure,” Perdue said. “Improving speed and efficiency for both passenger and freight services demonstrates our commitment to the future.”