House Passes Legislation To Advance Long Bridge Project
Washington, December 10, 2020
This morning the House of Representatives passed the Long Bridge Act, legislation introduced by Reps. Rob Wittman (R-VA) and Don Beyer (D-VA) that would advance the Long Bridge project by authorizing land transfers from the federal government to Virginia and the District of Columbia. The project, when completed will “expand commuter and regional passenger rail service and provide bicycle and pedestrian access crossings over the Potomac River.”
Rep. Beyer spoke in favor of the legislation on the House floor shortly before the bill passed without objection, his remarks as prepared follow below.
“I rise today in support of the Long Bridge Act of 2020, which I proudly co-lead with my colleague from Virginia Congressman Rob Wittman.
“The existing Long Bridge is the only rail bridge connecting Virginia to Washington, DC, and it is the main rail connection between the southeast and northeast for both passenger and freight rail.
“During peak hours, the two-track bridge is at almost 98 percent capacity, which makes it a significant chokepoint along the East Coast.
“That is why the new Long Bridge project is so crucial: it would double the capacity of the Potomac River rail crossing by adding a second two-track bridge adjacent to the existing bridge.
“I cannot stress enough how impactful the new Long Bridge project will be – projecting an annual $6 billion in benefits to the region by 2040.
“However, the land where construction will take place on both sides of the Potomac River is controlled by the National Park Service.
“NPS is currently prohibited by law to transfer land to the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia for purposes of railroad construction.
“That is where our bill comes in.
“The Long Bridge Act of 2020 is a simple fix to allow the National Park Service to transfer control of this land for the purposes of the Long Bridge rail project.
“I wholeheartedly support this bill, as it would enable the Commonwealth of Virginia to move forward with this vital construction.
“I’d like to thank my colleagues from Virginia, DC, and Maryland on both sides of the aisle for supporting the bill.
“And, thank you again to my colleague, Congressman Wittman, for your tireless efforts on behalf of the Long Bridge Act of 2020.”