By Associated Press - Friday, April 2, 2021

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - More direct train service between Raleigh and Richmond and passenger service to Asheville and Wilmington are included in Amtrak’s plan for $80 billion in federal funds, proposed as part of President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan announced this week.

Amtrak, which would receive the money, released its plan for enhanced and new services across the nation, The Charlotte Observer reported. The plan includes the Raleigh-to-Richmond line, as well as new routes to Wilmington and Asheville and new service from Charlotte to Greenville, South Carolina, Atlanta and beyond.

Asheville hasn’t had passenger rail service since 1975. There is Amtrak service between Richmond and Raleigh, but it runs east from Raleigh to Selma before heading north through Wilson and Rocky Mount. Amtrak connects passengers to Wilmington with Thruway Bus Service from Wilson.

“With this federal investment, Amtrak will create jobs and improve equity across cities, regions, and the entire country - and we are ready to deliver. America needs a rail network that offers frequent, reliable, sustainable and equitable train service,” Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said in a statement.

Amtrak celebrates its 50th anniversary on May 1.

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