Business community representatives from the Richmond and Hampton Roads regions of Virginia and the Research Triangle region of North Carolina came together on December 1 to discuss the importance of expanding intercity rail service in the southern Mid-Atlantic area, including the development of higher speed rail. Williams Mullen, a Southeastern based law firm with offices in all three regions, hosted the meeting at their Richmond headquarters.
Representatives included staff and volunteers from the chambers of commerce serving Hampton Roads, Greater Richmond, Greater Raleigh, and Greater Durham, as well as the Hampton Roads Partnership, the Regional Transportation Alliance in the Research Triangle region, the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization, and The Richmond Regional Planning District Commission.
“Virginia and North Carolina are consistently ranked among the top states for economic development and quality of life,” noted Dana Dickens, CEO of the Hampton Roads Partnership. “If our metropolitan areas are going to continue to succeed we will need to invest wisely in transportation including enhanced rail,” affirmed Jack Hornbeck, CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.
“Connecting these three southern mid-Atlantic economic powerhouses with higher speed rail makes good business sense,” noted Kim Scheeler, CEO of the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce. “Our markets are competitors with the rest of the world and improving our regional connections will position us for further growth.”
“The Research Triangle region encompassing Raleigh and Durham enjoys growing rail connections to our sister cities in North Carolina’s urban crescent including Charlotte and Greensboro,” noted Harvey Schmitt, CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and Casey Steinbacher, CEO of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce. “Our focus now is on ‘Connecting the Capitals’ of Raleigh, Richmond, and Washington, D.C. with higher speed rail, which will join North Carolina’s urban crescent with Virginia’s urban crescent of Hampton Roads, Richmond, and northern Virginia and better link all of them with our nation’s capital,” stated Joe Milazzo II, PE, Executive Director of the Regional Transportation Alliance.
The business community representatives from the respective regions applaud the leadership that elected and transportation officials from the two states have shown on the issue of initiating and enhancing intercity rail service and commit to supporting and advancing those ongoing efforts going forward.