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Scott Shenk writes about transportation issues affecting Fredericksburg-area residents. You can email him at sshenk@freelancestar.com.

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VRE re-ups contract with operator Keolis

MORE: See all local transportation news

Keolis Rail Services of Virginia will continue to operate Virginia Railway Express trains.

The VRE Operations Board on Friday approved the final year of a five-year contract with Keolis.

VRE will pay Keolis $20.1 million to operate its trains through July 2015.

Keolis replaced Amtrak as VRE’s train operator in 2010.

The total five-year contract agreement amounts to $95.6 million.

Also at Friday’s meeting, the board approved the payment of $300,000 as part of a grant application to further study the expansion of the Long Bridge across the Potomac River.

VRE has partnered with the District of Columbia Department of Transportation on the project. DDOT is paying $700,000 toward the grant application.

The grant would pay for more studies on the potential expansion of the two-track bridge.

Paul Milde, VRE Operations Board chairman and Stafford County supervisor, praised the potential expansion of the bridge as a big step for the commuter rail provider.

Fredericksburg VRE board member Matt Kelly agreed, but added that the studies are the start of a “long, arduous process.”

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