The Economic Impact of the Proposed Long Bridge Expansion and Associated Corridor Projects and the Role of Rail Commuting in the Economy

The Long Bridge is a two-track railroad bridge crossing the Potomac River between Arlington County, VA and Washington, D.C. The Bridge is owned and operated by CSX Transportation (CSXT) and is currently also used by Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express (VRE). A new two-track rail bridge, a fourth track addition in Alexandria and station improvements to L’Enfant, Crystal City, and Alexandria are being examined (the Long Bridge projects). These improvements would allow an increase of the total number of daily trains crossing the Long Bridge to 192, an increase of 80 trains compared to a no-build scenario. This increase would include 54 VRE passenger trains, 18 Amtrak passenger trains and eight Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) trains.

The addition of 80 daily trains crossing the Long Bridge will benefit the national economy and the economies of Virginia, Maryland and the District. The long-term economic benefits include

1) the economic impacts of the increased operational expenditures that would contribute $205.9 million to the economy in Virginia and $6.6 million to the Washington region’s economy annually,

2) the economic growth that is accommodated by the new commuter rail services, including an increase of $2.2 billion in economic contributions from rail commuters living in Virginia and an increase of $5.9 billion from rail commuters in the Washington region,

3) the decreased cost of turn-over for firms in the Washington region, estimated to be $48.5-96.9 million annually,

4) the time savings for rail passengers and road users, valued at $16.9 million for rail passengers in the tri-state area and $24.3-58.8 million for road users in Northern Virginia , and

5) the cost savings and value added to existing infrastructure and services.

These benefits are annual and cumulative over the lifespan of the Long Bridge projects infrastructure and the services that the projects accommodate.

The Economic Impact of the Proposed Long Bridge Expansion and Associated Corridor Projects and the Role of Rail Commuting in the Economy
November 2019

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