The Virginia Department of Transportation is known for building and maintaining roads, but the state agency is now putting its funds into a different way of getting around.
In a six-year plan approved Wednesday by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, VDOT is setting aside $32-million to expand passenger rail service.
"I think it's historic," said Meredith Richards, chairman of the Piedmont Rail Coalition and CvilleRail.
Richards has spent the last nine years fighting to get more passenger trains on Virginia tracks. She's pleased to see state leaders make a major investment in rail.
"It's really a departure from the way transportation has been planned in the past," Richards said. "I hope it's something we do more of in the future."
The service has proven to be a money maker. In 2013 an estimated 186,000 riders boarded trains on the Lynchburg to DC route, which includes stations in Charlottesville, Culpeper, and Manassas.
"I think we've shown that we definitely have the ridership to support this," said Marjette Upshur, economic development director for the city of Lynchburg.
Upshur believes adding another daily train will give the city a financial boost.
"I think this really helps us in retaining businesses in the city, as well as attracting new businesses to the city," Upshur said.
The expanded train service is part of a package of solutions, developed as an alternative to the Route 29 bypass around Charlottesville. The project was abandoned earlier this year, when federal transportation officials determined the design was outdated and indicated they would not fund construction.
Christine Kennedy at the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce supported the bypass, but believes the new train will alleviate some of 29's traffic issues.
"I will take any transportation improvements that will help Lynchburg, and I certainly think this is one of those," said Kennedy.
The new train will be the third to service Lynchburg and the second to originate in the city. A start date for the new service hasn't been established.