Pennsylvania Applies for $1.6 Million for High-Speed Rail Planning Study

HARRISBURG, Pa. Pennsylvania has applied for a $1.6 million federal grant from the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program to study possible expansion of rail service between Ohio and New York State through Erie, Gov. Edward G. Rendell said.

If selected for the federal grant, PennDOT will invest $400,000 in state funds to complete the study.

“The Lake Erie Corridor has significant public support for its potential to expand rail service among Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and points beyond,” Governor Rendell said. “This application shows Pennsylvania‘s commitment to maintaining and expanding our intercity rail infrastructure by increasing efficiency and reducing road congestion.”

The Lake Erie Corridor Investment Plan would examine potential infrastructure improvements to allow for fast, reliable passenger rail transportation. A Service Development Plan and environmental planning will help determine the feasibility of expanding the service. A cost/benefit analysis will also be performed, serving as the basis for a potential cooperative agreement among the states and local officials in finding funding for the improvements.

The corridor connects Erie with Cleveland, Ohio, and Buffalo, N.Y., and is now served by Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited service, which provides one train in each direction each day between Chicago, New York City and Boston.

The Federal Railroad Administration in March announced the availability of $115 million for high-speed rail projects, $50 million for planning and $65 million for construction projects. The funding is part of President Obama’s commitment to invest in efficient, high-speed passenger rail to address the nation’s transportation challenges.