With work continuing behind the scenes on the plan to relocate and expand Virginia Railway Express’s Crystal City station, the next major hurdle will be securing the final funding needed to make the project a reality.
The VRE operations board is seeking about $16 million in funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, about a third of the total cost of the project.
If funding can be attained, the project is anticipated for completion around 2023-24. Currently, it is in the design-development and environmental-study phases.
The operations board two years ago ratified a site east of Crystal Drive between 18th and 20th streets south to provide additional space for both trains and passengers, replacing the existing station nearby.
In September, the operations board approved a contract with a Massachusetts firm for engineering and environmental services related to the project.
The new station would provide an island platform about 850 feet in length, or about twice the length of the existing platform. The new station would be able to accommodate longer trains and, if service requirements warrant, two trains at one time.
(Residents of condominium units near the planned station voiced concerns about the site, citing pollution, noise and other concerns.)
The rail system is operated by the Potomac and Rappahannock Transit Commission and the Northern Virginia Transit Commission, with its operating board made up of officials from the various jurisdictions. County Board member Katie Cristol represents Arlington on the body.
Using trackage owned by CSX, VRE runs commuter service from points west and south into Alexandria, Arlington and the District of Columbia weekday mornings, then back out in the afternoon.