Casey Urges Support for Keystone Corridor High Speed Rail Project

WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urging him to approve approximately $248 million in funds sought by PennDOT to increase the maximum speed on the Keystone Corridor to 125 miles per hour. This will create jobs, spur economic growth and reduce travel time between Harrisburg and Philadelphia by 20 minutes.

“Investing in the corridor is crucial to expanding our nation’s high speed network and creating more sustainable forms of transportation,” wrote Senator Casey. “This investment would also spur job creation and promote economic growth.  Previous efforts to upgrade this line have played a vital role in encouraging economic growth along the corridor.”

In his letter, Senator Casey highlighted estimates that this project would create 4,500 full time equivalent jobs over its duration, helping the economic recovery move forward in Pennsylvania.

Since 2006, ridership on the Keystone Corridor has increased 45 percent. If this project is awarded funding, it is estimated that ridership will increase by an additional 30 percent within three years of implementation.

The funding PennDOT is seeking is available due to Florida declining a previously awarded grant for high speed rail development.

The full text of Senator Casey’s letter is below.

Dear Secretary LaHood:

I write to express my strong support for the application submitted by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) for high speed rail funding.

As we discussed last week, PennDOT is seeking approximately $248 million in funds to increase the maximum speed on the Keystone Corridor to 125 miles per hour.  If funding is awarded, PennDOT will make improvements to five key intercity interlocking and three station projects that will improve operating speed, decrease travel time, increase ridership and improve the state of good repair condition on the corridor.  These improvements would reduce the travel time between Harrisburg and Philadelphia by 20 minutes and increase ridership by an estimated 30 percent within three years of implementation.  

This investment would also spur job creation and promote economic growth.  Previous efforts to upgrade this line have played a vital role in encouraging economic growth along the corridor.  I have been informed that this project would create 4,500 full time equivalent jobs over its duration.  This is exactly the type of job creation that is needed to help the economic recovery move forward in Pennsylvania.  
 
The Keystone Corridor is the principal intercity rail line for passengers in Pennsylvania.  Since 2006, this line has seen a 45 percent increase in ridership.  Awarding funding to this project will create a national model for the implementation of high speed rail.  Investing in the corridor is crucial to expanding our nation’s high speed network and creating more sustainable forms of transportation.

Thank you for your consideration of my views.


Sincerely,


Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator

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