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Pennsylvania DOT solicits comments on statewide rail plan


The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) yesterday announced it has scheduled three open houses this month for the public to review a draft of an updated Pennsylvania State Rail Plan.

The plan would establish a "clear vision" for the future of rail transportation in the commonwealth, set objectives toward achieving that goal, and document and evaluate passenger- and freight-rail needs over the next 25 years to guide investments, PennDOT officials said in a press release.

The department is working with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in preparing the plan, which must be submitted to the FRA in November.

The draft includes a summary of 230 proposed passenger-rail improvements and investments for the years 2015-2040, including high-speed, inter-city and commuter-rail service. The summary incorporates projects from five-year capital plans from Amtrak and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). The summary focuses on three corridors: Amtrak's Keystone Corridor and Northeast Corridor, and SEPTA’s regional rail system in southeastern Pennsylvania.

"Pennsylvania is a railroad state with a long history being in the forefront of this mode of transportation," said PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards. "Our dynamic and ever evolving long-range rail plan is intended to maintain that legacy and help direct our investments to keep both freight- and passenger-rail as vibrant components of our transportation network."

The meetings will be held Sept. 15 in Pittsburgh, Sept. 16 in State College and Sept. 17 in Philadelphia. The plan also can be viewed online, and online comments may be submitted until Oct. 2.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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