Governor Tom Wolf today joined Amtrak executives, congressional members, and local leaders virtually to discuss the newly released Amtrak vision for the Northeast Corridor and the proposed enhancements to Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure.
“With federal leaders at the helm who understand the importance of investing in the future of our country’s transportation infrastructure, we have an opportunity before us to build a transportation system that will meet the needs of the 21st century,” said Gov. Wolf. “Amtrak is ready to do its part and has created a forward-looking vision for train service throughout the northeast. A vision that is good for jobs, good for the economy, and good for the climate.”
Additional participants included Amtrak President Stephen Gardner, Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn, Congressman Matt Cartwright, Allentown Deputy Mayor Leonard Lightner, Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti, and Greater Reading Chamber Alliance President & CEO Jim Gerlach.
Amtrak currently runs two commonwealth-supported routes in Pennsylvania: Keystone and Pennsylvanian. In fiscal year 2019, there were 1.8 million riders between these routes. Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor vision proposes three new services in Pennsylvania. Amtrak estimates there would be 1.3 million riders annually by 2035, with the services contributing $200 million in annual economic impact and $6 billion in incremental economic activity from capital investments, based on a projected capital investment needed of $2,700 million.
The Pennsylvania-specific proposal is outlined here:
- New service between Reading – Philadelphia – New York (three daily round trips);
- New service between Scranton – New York (three daily round trips);
- New service between Allentown – New York (two daily round trips);
- Expand Keystone service between Harrisburg – Philadelphia – New York from 12 daily round trips to 17 daily round trips, and reduce trip times by increasing Harrisburg – Philadelphia speeds to 125 mph; and,
- Expand Pennsylvanian service between Pittsburgh – Philadelphia – New York from one daily round trip to two daily round trips, with one round trip extended to Cleveland.
“Amtrak’s plan for expansion will improve equity, accessibility, and reliability in transportation and that’s exactly what our commonwealth needs to continue growing and thriving,” said Gov. Wolf. “We need state-level transportation solutions to match this federal leadership so we can build and sustain this vision.
“I am pleased to support this plan which would expand services to many more Pennsylvanians, strengthen local businesses, the regional economy, and the commonwealth as a whole.”
Nationwide, Amtrak’s vision proposes key improvements on 25 existing routes, adding 39 new routes, and bringing service to more than 160 new communities.
For more information on Amtrak and their proposed enhancements, visit their website here. Information on how Pennsylvania has invested and continues to invest in its existing passenger rail services is on its Plan the Keystone site.