WHEREAS, Virginia’s rail network helps by growing the economy, relieving congestion, saving lives, improving air quality, saving money, and complementing the Virginia highway network; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia began preserving passenger rail following the congressional enactment of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, which required states to fund routes between 70 and 750 miles – of which there are currently four routes with six daily round trips in Virginia; and
WHEREAS, the continued bipartisan commitment to the enhancement of passenger rail service in the Commonwealth has grown Virginia’s Amtrak routes from one daily passenger rail trip out of Lynchburg in October 2009 to include multiple round trips from Richmond, Norfolk, Newport News, and Roanoke, all of which connect Virginia to Washington, D.C., and the Northeast, and have led to an impressive growth in ridership on state-sponsored routes since the Commonwealth’s sponsorship began; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth has demonstrated its commitment to the vision of a seamless and integrated multimodal transportation network by providing dedicated revenues for the Intercity Passenger Rail Operating and Capital Fund to support and enhance a passenger rail service that provides $190 million in annual benefits to Virginia; and
WHEREAS, passenger rail service is vital to Virginia’s economic competitiveness and improved mobility, and is a key component of Virginia’s tourism industry, which had a record high 45 million domestic visitors in 2016, and a $2.2 billion increase in tourism revenue since 2014; and
WHEREAS, the continued enhancement of passenger rail service will build upon the transportation legacy that has helped make Virginia the number one state to do business in 2019;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize October 2019 as PASSENGER RAIL MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.