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PA joins states to explore new rail options

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Touting a study predicting increased congestion on Pennsylvania’s highways over the next two decades, Governor Ed Rendell is calling for more federal dollars to improve freight railway infrastructure.

Standing under the blazing sun in a Harrisburg rail yard, Rendell predicted truck traffic will increase by 50% along Interstates 81 and 95 between now and 2030.

The governor says the statistic, which comes from a new American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Study, underscores the need to invest in rail infrastructure.

He says Pennsylvania and four other states will apply for a $115-million federal grant this month to expand what’s being referred to as the Crescent Corridor rail line, which would run from Louisiana to New York.

The governor argues the freight line would create 26,000 Pennsylvania jobs and take trucks off the state’s highways.

So the benefits from this project are not just economic. They’re not just jobs. They’re environmental. They have indirect benefits for Pennsylvania taxpayers. And they relieve congestion for all of us. The less trucks on the road, the less congested our roads are for a passenger traveling, as well.

Tennessee, Alabama, Virginia, and North Carolina are joining Pennsylvania in the application.

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