Monday, July 13, 2009


I have had some questions about and concerns about where the State of Pennsylvania stood on HSR. Now, I'm pretty sure that I have my answer, and I don't like it.

The Transport Politic did a post about the initial requests for HSR funding that were to be submitted last Friday. He broke it down into two lists, confirmed requests, and probable. While states like Arkansas (progressive state that they are*) and California have already submitted applications, and states like Alabama/Mississippi (again very progressive states**) are likely candidates to submit for funding, Pennsylvania is notably absent from that list.

While Transport Politic's post is not the final absolute list, the lack of any information coming from any source (be it news or government) in Pennsylvania pretty much sums up our status. I think the silence is more frustrating than being told flat out that Pittsburgh to Harrisburg HSR is not even a concern for ______ reason (budget issues, don't care, etc).

I would also be a little less upset about this if there were some alternate plan or "consolation prize" such as a few more trains between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh and or Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

It's not over, and there are more rounds of funds scheduled to be made available later. However, future funding from the Federal Government is never a sure thing.

At this point, it's hard to even say if there are any plans by Pennsylvania to apply for funding now or in the future.

*Sorry Arkansas, but you are kind of trashy
**Sorry Alabama and Mississippi, but you are kind of trashy too


Paz said...

ODOT is doing a Pittsburgh-Cleveland study of some kind, though I don't know if they asked for federal money for it. They're even funding the PA portion, from what I've read.

BTW, I don't know if you knew this already, but I just found it out the other day. ODOT evidently owns the line from Columbus to Mingo Junction, or so I'm told. That bodes well for an eventual Pittsburgh-Columbus corridor.

East Busway Blogger said...

I saw that. I also saw the post over on Youngstown 2.0 about a "Cleveburgh" train. Its a little sad that Ohio seems to be taking more of an interest in connecting to Pittsburgh than our home state (sorry had to get the negativity out).

The good news is, Ohio is taking a strong interest connecting to Pittsburgh. Funding the PA portion is outstanding!

I thought Ohio Central Railroad (part of Genesee and Wyoming Inc.) owned it. I may be wrong though, maybe they just lease it from ODOT for freight operations.

That route is a ready made Passenger speedway, it was once multiple track, and built to handle the Pennsylvania Railroads most important Passenger Trains ran between the East Coast and St. Louis.

Now it's single track (with room to grow). The other section, between Mingo Jct. and Pittsburgh is now a rail trail, but the ROW is still intact and the largest expense would be re-laying the rails.

Pat Lynch said...

Don't feel too bad about Arkansas. The Highway Department has applied for $100,000 FRA matching funds for a study. The legislature recently appropriated $100,000,

That's not much in the bigger scheme of things and truckers own the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department AND the legislature.

We need to get the airlines on board connecting into the Memphis and Little Rock airports. Anyway, the Trains for America blog is commenting on this kind of stuff, so check it out.

I write much of it from Little Rock and Logan Nash is in Chicago this summer. The link is:

Pat Lynch