All aboard in Bedford? Town of Bedford hopes Amtrak will make the town its next stop
BEDFORD, Va. (WSET) -- A lot of people are hoping that trains will soon be making another stop in our area. Brian McCrodden with the Bedford Franklin Regional Rail Initiative has been working on having Amtrak come to Bedford for the past five years.
The Department of Rail and Public Transportation is putting it on hold until they see two years worth of Roanoke Ridership numbers. The town believes they are still righto on track.
Roanoke ridership shows more than 37,000 people getting on and off in the Star City.
"The actual ridership is less than was estimated but still enough for DRPT to describe them as impressive," said McCrodden.
It's not clear exactly what numbers they would like to see.
"What difference does Roanoke ridership make to Bedford?" said McCrodden.
As far as an economic driver, McCrodden is proving that this stop would be a huge boost for the area.
"The fact that we have no public transportation here, it would be huge to this area," said McCrodden.
Vicki Gardner with the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce agrees.
"To hop on the train and be able to come down here they step off the train into the downtown area, they have the peaks of otter behind them," she said.
The cost of the project is about $8 million total. The state would be paying for $7 million and the last million would come from the town and county
"I can't see any reason why we wouldn't have it," said Gardner.
"You gotta be an optimist, and I'm very optimistic," added McCrodden.
The town does plan to meet with the secretary of transportation later this month, and they say if you want to get involved make sure to speak to your state legislators.
If approved by next year, construction for the stop could be done by fall 2021.