Brian O’Neill: Western Pa., still on wrong side of the tracks

May 19, 2016

By Brian O’Neill / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It sounds like a simple idea: Add a second or even a third daily passenger train between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. The demand is clearly there, so let’s do it.Website Insert Passenger Trains Very Well copy

The operating cost to the state for tripling the service on the 204-mile stretch would be $10 million to $13 million, according to the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, which might sound like a lot until you note that it costs about $8 million to build one mile of highway.

So why is it taking Amtrak so long to give PennDOT an answer to exactly how much another train or two would cost? It has been eight months since Amtrak said it had the trains to add a trip. That’s enough time for the state General Assembly to come up with an entire budget.

OK, it couldn’t, but it still seems like a long time.

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