New high-speed rail service could be coming to Colonial Heights

TRI-CITIES, Va. (WRIC) — Colonial Heights could soon be home to Amtrak’s high-speed rail service. But their gain could be a loss for the town of Ettrick.

Many are calling it a huge economic driver. It would go near the intersection at Boulevard and Newcastle Drive.

“It will be huge, it will bring people into the city to take the train, it will attract the young millennials that may want to live here where the cost of living is low and then go to DC or Raleigh where they can work and then come back,” Colonial Heights Mayor Greg Kochuba told 8News.

Would the train, which would be the first of its kind in the region, really spur people who work in DC and Raleigh to relocate to the Tri-Cities? According to Mayor Kocuba, absolutely.

“There’s been talk that you can get to D.C. in a 45 minute period,” he said. “That’s awfully fast, but we will see what happens.”

The Federal Railroad Administration recently picked the Colonial Heights location largely due to its close proximity to Interstate 95. It’s not a done deal yet, though. The FRA wants to hear from residents before a final decision is made.

The Apodaca family lives across the street from the proposed location and has mixed feelings about the plan.

“We’re so close to Washington and I know right now if you hop in your car to go to Washington it’s not a good ride,” Joy Apodaca said.

But Joy also has concerns.

“I would just be concerned about the traffic and maybe a lot of congestion up in this area where it’s kind of quiet right now,” she said.

Meanwhile, people in Petersburg say they want the station to stay right where it is.

“To shop in Colonial Heights is one thing, but for convenience of train, this is more convenient,” said Beverly Neal-Dorsey, who was waiting on a train outside of the Ettrick location.

To give your public input, you can email jvinsh@craterpdc.org or you can mail your comments to Joseph Vinsh, Special Projects Coordinator for the Crater Planning District Commission aat 1964 Wakefield St., Petersburg, VA 23805.

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