2009-10-08 / Local & State

PA Applies For $3.1 Billion For High-Speed Rail Projects

Applications illustrate state, national transpor tation priority

Pennsylvania recently submitted applications to the federal government for $3.1 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to make highspeed rail improvements, Gov. Edward G. Rendell announced Monday.

“The applications we’ve submitted prove that Pennsylvania stands ready to address transportation challenges with forward thinking and community support,” Gov. Rendell said. “Pennsylvanians want efficient transportation that reduces congestion and is better for the environment; high-speed rail is what we need to meet these demands.”

The $8 billion initiative in the Recovery Act is part of President Obama’s proposal to invest in efficient, high-speed passenger rail to address the nation’s transportation challenges.

PennDOT submitted the following projects for Recovery Act funding:

Keystone Corridor East – Harrisburg to Philadelphia: construction of four separate projects that include track, signal, power and catenary upgrades, grade crossing removal and addition of a third express track between Atglen and Paoli. The improvements will increase the corridor’s maximum operating speed to 125 mph, reducing trip times. The construction totals $489.8 million and the commonwealth is seeking full funding of the improvements.

Lackawanna Cutoff – Scranton to Hoboken Passenger Rail Service: restoration of passenger rail service between Scranton and Hoboken, N.J., with connections to Penn Station in Manhattan. The project’s estimated cost is $401 million and the commonwealth is seeking full funding for the project.

Pittsburgh High-Speed Magnetic Levitation Project Phase A: funding to design and construct the first segment (Pittsburgh International Airport to downtown Pittsburgh) of a Maglev, or magnetic levitation, line between the airport and Monroe ville/Greensburg. Phase A construction totals $2.3 billion and the commonwealth is seeking full funding for the project.

The projects were submitted under Track 2 of the Recovery Act’s high-speed passenger rail initiative, which aims to substantially upgrade existing services or develop new high-speed rail corridor or intercity passenger rail services. The applications were submitted on Friday, Oct. 2.

PennDOT previously submitted applications for Tracks 1 and 3 of the initiative. Track 1 addresses recovery through final design or construction of projects with completed environmental clearances and preliminary engineering, and also through completion of project clearances or preliminary engineering. Track 3 is intended to establish a pipeline for future highspeed intercity passenger rail projects.

Under Track 1, preliminary engineering for four separate projects on Keystone Corridor East – Harrisburg to Philadelphia was the basis for a $27.45 million application. The preliminary engineering totals $30.5 million. A feasibility study of enhanced intercity passenger rail service for Keystone Corridor West – Harrisburg to Pittsburgh was submitted under Track 3. The study is estimated to cost $1.5 million and the commonwealth is seeking $750,000 in recovery dollars to help pay for it.

More information on the candidate projects or submitted application, at www.recovery.pa.gov.

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