Print
More News

Transportation Officials Comment On Amtrak Plan Involving Wilmington

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Apr 9, 2021
Area transportation leaders say a plan by Amtrak to connect passenger rail service further across the state to Wilmington would add a significant multimodal component to the region.

While not involved in any discussions with Amtrak about its strategic vision, Mike Kozlosky, executive director of the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WMPO), said the re-establishment of a passenger rail service is within the organization's future plans and vision.

President Joe Biden announced a plan recently to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure, including about $80 billion for Amtrak, which has in its 2035 Vision plan to connect passenger rail to Wilmington.

"The re-establishment of passenger rail service would fulfill the vision for the [multimodal] transportation center. Based on my discussion with NCDOT, this effort is consistent with the state’s rail plan and it is also consistent with the desires of the MPO Board," Kozlosky said in an email. "The devil will be in the details but we are excited and very supportive of the idea for re-establishment of this service."

Transportation projects that could benefit from the establishment of a passenger rail service by Amtrak include the Wilmington Multimodal Transportation Center, or Padgett Station, which opened at 520 N. Third St. in 2020.

"NCDOT (with funding assistance from the City) has acquired the dirt for Multi-modal Transportation Center ...The MPO is currently working to rehabilitate and re-use the former Thomas Grocery Building for dedicated office space," Kozlosky said. "The area between 3rd/4th/Campbell and Hanover Streets is owned by NCDOT and will house the future passenger rail station to be constructed at a later date."

A passenger rail would increase access, connectivity and opportunity in the region, said Marie Parker, executive director of the WAVE Transit.

Last year, the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority, operating as WAVE Transit, completed Padgett Station, part of an overall multimodal transportation center project. The facility is being operated by WAVE for its bus routes from that station. 

With Amtrak, WAVE already works with Amtrak bus service out of its bus slip and passenger facilities at WAVE's Forden Station, she said.

Greyhound Lines, however, is currently the only public, ground transportation option available for travel between cities, she added. A commuter rail line would provide an alternative and increased access to locations and designations outside of the Cape Fear region, she said.

"Padgett Station, the Authority’s downtown transfer station, is the first facility constructed and one component of the overall Wilmington Multimodal Transportation Center (WMMTC)," Parker said. "The long-term vision for the WMMTC is to serve as a centralized hub to accommodate all, alternative modes of transportation, including bus, passenger rail, bike, walking, etc. Padgett Station. Improvements to the rail cut, as illustrated in the Wilmington Rail Trail Master Plan, are underway. Padgett Station is adjacent to the rail cut terminus."

N.C. Department of Transportation officials said they will be following the Biden Administration's proposal as it makes its way through Congress.

“We appreciate that President Biden recognizes the great importance of transportation infrastructure in regard to getting people access to jobs, health care and educational opportunities. That includes not only maintaining what is already here, but also expanding the system and welcoming new innovations,” said Jason Orthner, director of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Rail Division, in an email. “Passenger rail is part of that system and is an effective way of moving people between rural and urban communities."
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Neilunderwood canapi headshot

Fueling The Leaders Of The Fintech Revolution

Neil Underwood - Canapi Ventures
Mikeharrington carolinaretreats 2

Accidental Guest Damages: Take A Deep Breath!

Mike Harrington - Carolina Retreats
Aaeaaqaaaaaaaaidaaaajdhiztrkodm0lte2yjetngrkmy1hotrmltawmdvlmwqyztmymw

With (More Than) A Little Help from Our Friends

Diane Durance - UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Trending News

Biotech Startup Names New CEO

Johanna Cano - May 4, 2021

Bites And Sips At Catawba Brewing In Wilmington

Jessica Maurer - May 5, 2021

NCino Sports Park Perks Include Boosting Economy, Leaders Say

Cece Nunn - May 5, 2021

Driftwood Apartments Under Contract With Cape Fear Collective

Staff Reports - May 4, 2021

Shark Bar And Kitchen Floats New Items For Summer

Jessica Maurer - May 5, 2021

In The Current Issue

Company Rolls Into Communications

Nathanael Conway, CEO of Wilmington-based Blue Roll LLC, is working on branching out his production company into the communications world....


Tech Firm Tackles Opioid Crisis

One Wilmington startup is leading efforts in the region to help treat the disease by using data and technology....


Meeting Needs In Pender County

“I was called to this. This is not a job. This is a mission."...

Book On Business

The 2021 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

Trying to Grow a Business?
2020 Health Care Heroes
2020 WilmingtonBiz 100