In October of 2009, in the interest of improving the region’s potential for passenger rail service, the HRTPO passed resolution #2009-05 which designated a “High Speed Rail” corridor along or near Route 460, supported enhancement of existing passenger rail service on the Peninsula, and established a regional Passenger Rail Task Force. It was further resolved that the HRTPO strongly pursue hiring a long term consultant to guide the HRTPO Board through the development of a strategic high speed and intercity passenger rail plan.
These directives were followed; the HRTPO retained the services of Transportation Economics & Management Systems, Inc. (TEMS) to investigate the potential feasibility of a high speed rail connection from Hampton Roads to Richmond, further connecting the region to the Northeast Corridor and the proposed Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor. A series of studies were completed by TEMS, with review and approval by the Passenger Rail Task Force and HRTPO Board coming at each step along the way. After four years of technical evaluation and planning, the resulting Hampton Roads High Speed Passenger Rail Vision Plan envisions a future where high speed rail service into and out of the region is seamless, efficient and competitive with other modes of intercity transportation.
The vision planning process has not only supplied a robust set of data and technical information, but has also advanced discussion and interest in the concept of high speed rail coming to Hampton Roads. As the national discourse on high speed rail’s future continues to play out, investment in this series of studies has provided the foundation to make a market-based case for connecting Hampton Roads into a national high speed rail system. To read the Vision Plan, click here.