One of the 13 original colonies, Virginia was the first part of the country permanently settled by the English, who established Jamestown on the banks of the James River in 1607. The home state of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers, Virginia played an important role in the American Revolution (1775-83). During the Civil War (1861-65), the city of Richmond, Virginia, became the capital of the Confederacy, and more than half of the conflict’s battles were fought in the state. Today, many government institutions are headquartered in Virginia, particularly in Arlington, located across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. In addition to eight presidents, famous Virginians include singer Ella Fitzgerald, tennis star Arthur Ashe, actress Shirley MacLaine and authors Willa Cather and Tom Wolfe.
Virginia has Amtrak passenger rail service along several corridors, and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) maintains two commuter lines into Washington, D.C. from Fredericksburg and Manassas. VRE is one of the nation’s fastest-growing commuter rail services, handling nearly 20,000 passengers a day. Arlington accounted for 40% of Virginia’s public transit trips as of 2013, with most of that being from the Washington Metro transit system, which also serves Alexandria and communities in Fairfax County along I-66. The system is currently expanding west into additional areas of Loudoun County. Major freight railroads in Virginia include Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation. Commuter buses include the Fairfax Connector, FRED buses in Fredericksburg, and OmniRide in Prince William County. The Virginia Department of Transportation operates several free ferries throughout Virginia, the most notable being the Jamestown-Scotland ferry which crosses the James River in Surry County.
1932 Byrd Road Act, the state government controls most of Virginia’s roads, instead of a local county authority as is usual in other states. As of 2018, the Virginia Department of Transportation owns and operates 57,867 miles (93,128 km) of the total 70,105 miles (112,823 km) of roads in the state, making it the third-largest state highway system in the United States. Although the Washington Metropolitan Area, which includes Northern Virginia, has the second-highest rate of traffic congestion in the nation, Virginia as a whole has the 21st-lowest rate of congestion and the average commute time is 26.9 minutes. Virginia hit peak car usage before the year 2000, making it one of the first such states.
The Port of Virginia hopes to provide faster transit times to cargo owners by routing more containers into a newly renovated intermodal yard.
The port will reshuffle which terminals each vessel calls on based on the alliances between ocean carrier and either CSX Transportation or Norfolk Southern Railway, which should result in fewer time-consuming drays between terminals.
It could also propel the Port of Virginia toward its goal of moving 40 percent of containers inland via rail. The number has fluctuated between 34 and 37 percent in the last few years.
The port has three container terminals — Virginia International Gateway (VIG), Norfolk Intermodal Terminals (NIT), and Portsmouth Marine Terminal (PMT). NIT provides on-dock rail only to Norfolk Southern. PMT provides limited CSX on-dock rail and none to NS. VIG, recently expanded to build 10,000-foot trains, serves both CSX and NS. Thirteen weekly services discharge in NIT, 10 in VIG, and four in PMT, the Virginia Port Authority said.
Some vessel strings were moved out of VIG during construction, which began in 2017. The result was that containers were trucked between terminals to be loaded onto a train, a time-consuming dray. With the VIG project complete, the port will now reshuffle the strings to increase terminal flow.
“One of the advantages of shifting these vessels to more modern terminals is to eliminate all the unnecessary drayage and do it more seamlessly on the dock,” said Tom Capozzi, VPA’s chief sales officer.
The most important consideration, he said, is honoring the alliances between ocean carriers and railroads. Carriers aligned with CSX, for example, should be going into VIG rather than NIT.
Virginia has five major airports: Washington Dulles International and Reagan Washington National in Northern Virginia, both of which handle more than twenty million passengers a year; Richmond International; and Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport and Norfolk International serving the Hampton Roads area. Several other airports offer limited commercial passenger service, and sixty-six public airports serve the state’s aviation needs. The Virginia Port Authority’s main seaports are those in Hampton Roads, which carried 69,416,600 short tons (62,973,700 t) of total cargo in 2018, the fifth most of United States ports. The Eastern Shore of Virginia is the site of Wallops Flight Facility, a rocket testing center owned by NASA, and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, a commercial spaceport. Space tourism is also offered through Vienna-based Space Adventures.