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PRINTER'S NO. 4002
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE RESOLUTION
No.
918
Session of
2020
INTRODUCED BY HENNESSEY, LAWRENCE, SCHMITT, STEPHENS, JONES,
MENTZER, PYLE, CIRESI, KORTZ AND DELLOSO, JUNE 23, 2020
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION, JUNE 23, 2020
A RESOLUTION
Requesting the United States Department of Transportation
relinquish to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the ownership
of the Philadelphia to Harrisburg railroad line, the former
Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line now known as the "Harrisburg
Line," currently utilized by the National Railroad Passenger
Corporation (Amtrak) and the Southeastern Pennsylvania
Transportation Authority (SEPTA) for passenger rail
operations.
WHEREAS, The United States Department of Transportation
(USDOT) essentially obtained ownership of the Philadelphia to
Harrisburg former Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line (the
Harrisburg Line) as the result of the passage of Railroad
Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 (Public Law 94-
210, 90 Stat. 31), enacted February 5, 1976, often called the
"4R Act"; and
WHEREAS, The 4R Act established the basic outlines of
regulatory reform in the railroad industry and provided
transitional operating funds following the 1970 bankruptcy of
Penn Central Transportation Company; and
WHEREAS, The 4R Act approved the "Final System Plan" for the
newly created Consolidated Rail Corporation and authorized
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acquisition of NEC and the Harrisburg Line tracks and facilities
by Amtrak; and
WHEREAS, The USDOT provided more than $85 million (1976
dollars) in financing to Amtrak to allow it to acquire those
portions of the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and the Harrisburg
Line; and
WHEREAS, The USDOT was granted a mortgage in consideration of
the money it advanced to Amtrak; and
WHEREAS, The USDOT exercises oversight and control of Amtrak;
and
WHEREAS, Even though Amtrak currently controls the Harrisburg
Line and uses its own equipment and staff for the passenger rail
services that they offer on that piece of railroad, the
Commonwealth subsidizes that line and every single passenger
train operating over that line; and
WHEREAS, The Commonwealth annually pays Amtrak for the
Harrisburg Line under the Passenger Rail Investment and
Improvement Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-432, Div. B, October 16,
2008, 122 Stat. 4907); and
WHEREAS, Amtrak's "Keystone Service," which runs from
Harrisburg - Philadelphia - New York, operates 26 weekday
trains, 13 in each direction; and
WHEREAS, Amtrak also operates a separate service called the
"Pennsylvanian," which runs from New York - Philadelphia -
Pittsburgh twice daily, one train in each direction; and
WHEREAS, The Commonwealth pays Amtrak $16.3 million annually
for the Keystone Service and Pennsylvanian passenger rail
service; and
WHEREAS, In addition to these direct payments by the
Commonwealth, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation
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Authority (SEPTA) also pays Amtrak $41 million per year for its
use of the Harrisburg Line to operate SEPTA's Paoli-Thorndale
Line; and
WHEREAS, Since the Commonwealth subsidizes SEPTA to ensure
that mass transit is provided to its residents, the Commonwealth
is actually appropriating more money for an asset it does not
own or control; and
WHEREAS, In addition to the annual service payments for the
Keystone Service and the Pennsylvanian, the Commonwealth has
invested approximately $216 million in capital for
infrastructure on the Harrisburg Line since 1999; and
WHEREAS, Like the Commonwealth, SEPTA has invested
approximately $20 million in infrastructure on the Harrisburg
Line; and
WHEREAS, These payments to Amtrak from the Commonwealth and
SEPTA total more than $263 million; and
WHEREAS, Since the Commonwealth contributes hundreds of
millions of dollars to the maintenance and improvements of the
Harrisburg Line, the Commonwealth has demonstrated its long-term
interest in offering its residents quality passenger rail
services; and
WHEREAS, The House of Representatives believes that it can
offer increased frequencies of a rail service at an equal or
lower cost to its residents than currently is available; and
WHEREAS, The House of Representatives believes that it can
also offer residents other passenger rail service options that
are not currently possible with Amtrak controlling the
Harrisburg Line; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives request that the
United States Department of Transportation relinquish to the
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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the ownership of the Philadelphia
to Harrisburg railroad line, the former Pennsylvania Railroad
Main Line now known as the "Harrisburg Line," currently utilized
by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) and the
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) for
passenger rail operations; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the United States Department of Transportation
permit the Department of Transportation to facilitate the
ownership and operation of passenger rail service on the
Harrisburg Line.
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