Regional body signs off on use of congestion funds for Northeast Regional Amtrak services

The logo for Amtrak

Since 1963, the U.S. Clean Air Act has provided funding for local and state governments to meet air quality requirements. 

One of those sources is the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program, known as CMAQ. 

The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) is using $111 million in CMAQ funds to help support four Amtrak trains that run through the Commonwealth. That includes the Northeast Regional which runs between Roanoke and D.C. via Lynchburg and Charlottesville. 

The Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization does not usually receive funding through CMAQ because air quality here is not as poor as in more urbanized areas. 

However, this region’s MPO has to upgrade its “Transportation Improvement Plan” to reflect the service that is being paid for with those funds by VPRA. 

“What they are doing right now is going through a series of requests to add the allocations for the CMAQ funding just based on the service within each of the MPO’s, that would have the service traversing it,” said Sandy Shackelford, the director of planning and transportation for the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Planning Commission. That entity runs the MPO. 

That total would be just under $9.2 million in funding for FY24-FY27. The MPO Policy Board voted unanimously to approve the adjustment to the transportation improvement plan. 

A second daily Northeast Regional train began operations on July 11, 2022. 

A table from the Transportation Improvement Plan, a document kept updated by staff at the Thomas Jefferson Regional Planning District.

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the September 5, 2023 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

Additionally, this was posted during a time I’ve upgraded to a new WordPress theme. Some things may not look as they should. But, it’s a fun experiment!

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