Norfolk Southern Proposes $2 Billion in Rail Corridor Upgrades

Norfolk Southern Corp. has proposed a $2 billion upgrade for a rail corridor between Louisiana and New Jersey that could divert as many as one million trucks per year from roads and highways, including Interstate 81 in Virginia.

The railroad company, reports the Roanoke Times, says it is prepared to “invest a lot in this corridor … up to an amount that provides us an acceptable return on our investment.” Beyond that amount, the Norfolk Southern expects the public sector to step in. Virginia has pledged $40 million towards upgrades in the portion of the 1,400-mile corridor that runs through the state.

The idea is certainly worth examining. On the surface at least, it seems vastly preferable to the two grotesquely expensive public-private partnership proposals that have been submitted for I-81 in Virginia. But all expenditures must be scrutinized on a return-on-investment basis. Before Virginia commits to this project, we need to know how many trucks will we get off Virginia highways for that $40 million through this approach, and how does that compare to alternative investments of $40 million?

Let’s see the numbers. If the numbers look good, then it’s full speed ahead!

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3 responses to “Norfolk Southern Proposes $2 Billion in Rail Corridor Upgrades”

  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: what is $40 million dollars worth?

    answer: about 2 miles of an extra lane on I-81 in the rural areas.

    there’s another shoe here .. size 13 and above that has yet to drop

    my quess… they want the same deal Dominion has…the right to codemn property… for a “public good”…

    but having said that – Virginia should get in the game… NS put something on the table… don’t walk away…. put the ball back in NS’s court…

    hint: .. wanna go from NoVa to C’ville to Blacksburg on a passenger train using the same tracks that serve freight?

    opportunity here…

    what’s the worse that could happen? .. ummm.. CSX comes out wanting the same deal for their I-95 corridor? wow… a new track for VRE… that goes to Richmond and TW/HR…

    oops.. I forget.. all of our state agencies including VDOT.. have other fish to fry … all those big I-81/I-73/US 460 mega projects won’t go forward .. if Nofolk Southern “messes” up the transporation demand equation.

    actually the worse that could happen if that NS would want the same PPTA deal that the Dulles Airport Authority has… secret deals with a sole source contr4act.

  2. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    $2 Billion is just 1 / 75th of the amount the Feds are proposing for the subsidy of oil companies just to add ethanol to gasoline.

    $18 billion a year by 2022 if the “Consumer Protection and Energy Effeciency Act of 2007 is extended that far.

    Stop politics-as-usual.


  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Has anyone found anything anywhere saying exactly that project includes?

    Does it include anything for Amtrak?

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