Intercity passenger rail service has become a hot topic in Hampton Roads, with meetings regarding high speed rail drawing hundreds of people and new Amtrak service planned between Norfolk and Richmond. In the meantime, the current Amtrak service from stations in Newport News and Williamsburg has seen increased ridership in recent years. Nearly 160,000 passengers used Amtrak service from these two stations in 2009, an increase of over 20% from the middle of the decade. Passenger volumes have leveled off in recent months, however, with the number of passengers in August 2010 remaining unchanged from August 2009.
These passenger levels are expected to increase with the addition of new Amtrak service between Norfolk and Richmond. The Commonwealth Transportation Board has approved $93 million in funding for this service, which is expected to begin in 2013.