NRV 2020 meets to update on efforts to obtain passenger rail

NRV rail logo

Members of the Legislative/Government Affairs Committee of the New River Valley Rail 2020 group met May 28 at Radford University's College of Business and Economics Building to discuss the progress of studies and analysis underway with the purpose of reintroducing passenger rail service to the New River Valley by 2020.

New River Valley Rail 2020 is an initiative by regional municipalities, businesses and higher education institutions, including Radford University.

AMTRAK passenger rail is scheduled to begin providing service in Roanoke in 2017, and NRV community leaders are hopeful that the Commonwealth of Virginia will support extending the service to the NRV which is comprised of communities representing the largest urban concentration west of Roanoke. The group dubs itself, "New River Valley Rail 2020, Putting Passengers on Track."

The planning committee is populated by senior officials from the counties of Montgomery and Pulaski; towns of Pulaski, Christiansburg and Blacksburg; City of Radford; Radford University and Virginia Tech; Virginia Tech Foundation; New River Valley Planning District; New River Valley Economic Development Alliance; The Blacksburg Partnership; Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce; and the New River Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization.

A number of state and federal elected officials have also given their support to the initiative.


Members of the Legislative/Government Affairs Committee of the New River Valley Rail 2020 group. (L-R): Shawn Utt, Bruce Brown, Kevin Byrd, Ed Lawhorn, Amanda Goldberg, Diane Akers, Sandy Davis, Richard Alvarez, Ken Anderson, Angie Hall, Joe Carpenter, Sherry Wallace and Randy Wingfield.

As part of the group's efforts, the Planning District Commission is gathering information about the travel habits of regional residents, visitors and university students. It has developed a survey to collect information from these groups.

The survey results will provide essential information toward helping NRV regional partners understand potential passenger rail use, and ensure that a new station would offer the services that travelers want the most. All survey responses are anonymous.

The survey has received more than 4,100 responses since its launch, according to Kevin Byrd, executive director of the New River Valley Planning District Commission.

The survey is available online and takes about five minutes to complete.

Additional information can be found at the NRV Passenger Rail website or on Facebook.

May 29, 2015