Monday, June 22, 2009
A Congressional hearing about the future of passenger rail service this morning discussed many possibilities, including improvements made to the Amtrak Daily Pennsylvanian route between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, creating a route to stop at State College, creating a route between Pittsburgh and Cleveland, and additional routes to Pittsburgh's light rail system to include South Side, Oakland and the Route 28 Corridor. Amtrak Senior Director for National State Relations Ray Lang says the Keystone Corridor, the route connecting Harrisburg and Philadelphia, is a major triumph. It take 90 minutes to get from one city to the other on an express route, 30 minutes faster than it was before making improvements. Since improvement completion, ridership was up by 26 percent. Lang says the Daily Pennsylvanian route could use similar improvements to become more efficient. Also, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 85 Patrick McMahon says light rail will pay large dividends, and would be more reliable than other modes of transportation to get to jobs, businesses and run errands. The most practical routes to extend Pittsburgh light rail service to be to accommodate the East End, South Side, and Route 28 Corridor.