Amazon headquarters in Virginia to spur transit upgrades

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CRYSTAL CITY, Va. — In the wake of Amazon’s announcement that Crystal City will be one of its two new East Coast headquarters, funding is in place for transit improvements at facilities in the city across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

Crystal City is served by two Washington Metro lines, as well as the Virginia Railway Express commuter service. After a lengthy search process, Amazon announced Tuesday that it would be splitting its new "HQ2" location between Crystal City and Long Island City, N.Y.

As part of an $819 million incentive package for Amazon from the commonwealth of Virginia and Arlington County, $195 million is earmarked for transportation improvements. These will include additional entrances to the Crystal City and the new Potomac Yard Metro stations, along with construction of a pedestrian bridge to Washington National Airport and expansion of the existing, dedicated busway to Pentagon City. The funds must still be approved by the Virginia General Assembly.

Construction of the new $320 million Potomac Yard station could begin by the end of the year, funded primarily by general obligation bonds and a loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation Build America Bureau. A separate $500 million per year dedicated capital investment program for Washington Metro was approved earlier this year by Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Also planned is an expansion of the VRE station at Crystal City. A new island platform, lengthened to 850 feet to accommodate 10-car trains, would replace the current 400-foot platform. A fourth track and two grade-separated walkways are also planned. Construction is targeted to begin in 2021.

The e-commerce company plans to bring 25,000 new high-paying jobs to Northern Virginia and is expected to attract additional investment and employment to the area. According to Amazon, about 55 percent of the employees at their Seattle headquarters take public transit, walk, or bike to work. On-site access to public transportation was a core requirement in the site selection process.

No transit-related projects are currently planned in connection with Amazon's Long Island City headquarters.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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