The Washington Times - September 27, 2011, 07:59PM

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday announced that Virginia and North Carolina would receive grants totaling $48.3 million to advance the development of high-speed rail along the eastern corridor.

Virginia will receive $44.3 million for environmental analysis and preliminary engineering to prep for the construction of the Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor between Washington and Richmond.

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The state’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) will kick in $11 million toward that project.

North Carolina will receive $4 million for environmental and design work for constructing a new connection between Raleigh and Richmond. The North Carolina Department of Transportation, in partnership with Virginia’s DRPT, will put up $3.9 million toward the project.

The Transportation Department hopes that the grants ultimately will spur rail development as far south as Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta and to the Tidewater region of Hampton Roads and Norfolk.