Passenger train proponents: Spend big bucks on proposal for service from Pennsylvania to New York City

October 14, 2015

POCONO TWP. — One of the largest crowds ever at a meeting aimed at reviving a Scranton-to-New York City passenger train signaled support Tuesday with loud applause they hope will resonate with state and federal officials who must provide the key ingredient.

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At least $551 million just to build it and millions of dollars more to operate it every year.

Almost 250 people at the Inn at Pocono Manor heard local elected officials, business leaders and other rail proponents tell state Secretary of Transportation Leslie S. Richards and Federal Transit Administration Acting Administrator Therese W. McMillan the train would relieve traffic congestion, boost tourism and, most importantly, create jobs in Northeast Pennsylvania.

“This room speaks for itself,” state Rep. Mike Carroll, D-118, Avoca, testified. “This project is of vital importance to Northeastern Pennsylvania.”

Mr. Carroll and other proponents spoke at a forum organized by U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-11, Moosic, who’s trying to reinvigorate the long-stalled push to reconnect Scranton and the Poconos to New York City by train. Ms. Richards, who was expected to attend in person, watched the forum through a video conference because of Gov. Tom Wolf’s ban on travel by state officials during the budget impasse.

State Sen. John Blake, D-22, Archbald, said increasing traffic along the Interstate 80 corridor through the Poconos will only worsen with the widening of the Panama Canal, a project expected to produce more freight moving through East Coast ports and along eastern highways.

Mr. Blake argued the train will get a lot of use. He pointed to a passenger train that travels 130 miles and connects Portland, Maine, population 66,000, to metropolitan Boston and its population of several million people. Scranton, which has more than 70,000 residents, and metro New York, which has more than 20 million, would be 133 miles apart by train.

The Maine route started with three trains and now runs 12 a day, he said.

Staff Writer Borys Krawczeniuk has the full story in The Times-Tribune by clicking here.


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