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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 14, 2017 11:25 AM
From: Senator Randy Vulakovich
To: All Senate members
Subject: Resolution to Study Increasing Passenger Rail Service
In the near future, I intend to introduce a resolution directing the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the feasibility of increasing passenger rail service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.

Western Pennsylvania has historically had a high level of passenger rail service with twelve daily trains as recently as the 1960s and two daily passenger trains in 2004 serving the Keystone corridor west of Harrisburg. In January 2015 The Keystone West High-Speed Rail Study: Feasibility Report & Preliminary Service Development Plan, prepared for PennDOT and the Federal Railroad Administration, evaluated the feasibility of options to reduce rail travel times and increase trip frequency on Amtrak’s Keystone West portion of the Pennsylvanian service and identified incremental improvements that would make the line compatible for both freight and passenger rail service.

I believe the existing one train a day between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh does not meet the transportation needs of residents in the western communities along the line and the many who depend upon passenger rail service to travel. The residents of western Pennsylvania deserve the same consideration and opportunity for increased frequency of service on this existing line as residents of Pennsylvania in other parts of the state along the Keystone line.

The resolution that I am proposing will direct the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study of the feasibility of providing an additional two passenger rail trains a day to the existing one daily train between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg including what federal money can be identified to support such a service. The study should also determine what improvements to the rail infrastructure between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg are necessary in order to make the additional passenger rail service compatible with the existing freight service.

If you have any questions please contact Charlie O'Neill in my office at 717-787-6538. Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SR76