Casey Pushes for Grant that Would Move Somerset Amtrak Station Forward

In Letter to Transportation Secretary, Casey Asks for Careful Review of Grant Application, Cites Economic Benefit of Amtrak Station to Region

2009 Study Showed Station in Rockwood Would Increase Ridership, Ticket Sales 

Station Could Boost Region’s Economy, Increase Traffic to Area Ski Resorts, Provide Access to Flight 93 Memorial

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) urged the Department of Transportation to move forward with plans for an Amtrak station in Somerset County. In a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Senator Casey cited the benefits that an Amtrak station could have in the Rockwood area of Somerset County, including serving as an economic catalyst for the region.

“Reliable and effective transportation is a key to growing Pennsylvania’s economy and creating jobs,” Senator Casey said. “Having an Amtrak station in Somerset County would boost ridership for the Capitol Limited train and increase the number of people traveling to see the Great Allegheny Passage and the Flight 93 Memorial.”

Somerset County is in the running for a new Amtrak station and Senator Casey is pushing for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to award the county a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery IV (TIGER IV) grant that would move plans for a station forward. A station, likely in the Rockwood area of Somerset County on Main Street, would provide an economic boost to the region’s economy and increase access to area sites.

A 2009 Amtrak feasibility study showed that a stop in Rockwood could increase ridership on the Capitol Limited train by 2,100 while increasing ticket revenues by $123,000 annually. Long eyed for a station, putting a stop in Somerset County could drive forward the region’s tourist attractions. Visitors coming to Somerset County to see the Great Allegheny Passage, the Flight 93 Memorial and use the area’s ski resorts could travel via Amtrak.

Senator Casey’s letter to the Department of Transportation is below:

The Honorable Ray LaHood

Secretary

U.S. Department of Transportation

Dear Mr. Secretary:

It is my understanding that Somerset County has submitted an application to the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery IV (TIGER IV) grant program through the U.S. Department of Transportation.  The purpose of this letter is to urge you to give full and fair consideration to this proposal.

I have been informed that Somerset County will use this funding to construct an Amtrak station in Rockwood, Pennsylvania. Despite the fact that Amtrak operates trains that run through Somerset County, most residents have to travel up to an hour to access the nearest station to them. This project will enable the Capitol Limited train operated by Amtrak to make daily stops in Somerset County. This initiative will support efforts to increase the number of people that visit the area’s tourist attractions. Furthermore, this project will create jobs and attract more employers to the region.

Please include this letter in the official record of the application.  Consistent with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, we also respectfully request that you keep me informed of the status of this grant application.  Thank you in advance for your strong consideration.   

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator

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