SP to hold public budget hearings; releases proposed budget

The Town Council of Southern Pines met Tuesday and discussed passenger rail expansion.

A consultant hired to help facilitate railroad expansion gave a report to the town council on the status of a proposed S-Line rail expansion, which would eventually create a high-speed rail corridor between Richmond and Charlotte, running through Southern Pines.

The recent bipartisanship infrastructure bill extensively upgraded federal funding for rail.

Currently, ridership on trains has broken records each month this year. Plans are in process to add an additional train to Raleigh, bringing the total to five trains, and Amtrak services Southern Pines daily.

The S-Line project is intended to bring high-speed rail between Richmond and Charlotte working in conjunction with the state of Virginia on this for years. Currently, over $36 billion has been authorized in advance appropriations. It will be a 110-mph train with 125-mph segments being considered.

The plan consists of almost 162 miles of new train rails. It is planned to provide a direct connection between urban centers for 25 million people by 2040. It will be built in three segments: Washington, D.C. to Richmond, VA; Richmond, VA to Raleigh, N.C.; and Raleigh, N.C. to Charlotte, N.C.

This will be one of the most technologically advanced railroads in the Southeast, with high-speed switches and other advanced safety systems. It is hoped that the first segment will start construction next year.

The population of Southern Moore County has surpassed 50,000 people and will need to transition to a Metropolitan Planning Organization. MPOs are planning organizations that will look ahead and prepare transportation projects and submit projects to NCDOT. The MPO includes Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen, Pinebluff, Whispering Pines, and Taylortown. Federal matching funds are available to help pay for planning projects. The council is going to take a week to ponder what is best.

The next meeting is scheduled for April 11 at 6 p.m.

For more information on the rail presentation from Tuesday’s council meeting, please click here.

Sandhills_Sentinel~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Chris Prentice. Contact him at [email protected].

Feature photo of Southern Pines Train Station by Sandhills Sentinel Photographer Cow McFarland.

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