Public hearings resume for PATCO rail expansion

    New Jersey’s high speed rail line, PATCO, is asking for public input on the planned expansion of train service throughout the southern part of the state.

    Proposed plans to extend the rail line east to Atlantic City and south to Glassboro will be on display at the Rutgers campus in Camden. The multibillion dollar project may happen sooner than previously expected.

    New Jersey’s high speed rail line, PATCO, is asking for public input on the planned expansion of train service throughout the southern part of the state.

    Proposed plans to extend the rail line east to Atlantic City and south to Glassboro will be on display at the Rutgers campus in Camden. The multibillion dollar project may happen sooner than previously expected.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090610pcpatco.mp3]

    Federal funding for this kind of project could take anywhere from 7 to 10 years to arrive. But PATCO’s boss the Delaware River Port Authority wants shovels in the ground before then. DRPA CEO John Matheussen says waiting for federal funding would hold it up, if it comes at all.

    Matheussen: It’s worse than a long shot. It’s an incredible shot.

    Because of the federal formula for public transportation the PATCO expansion will most likely not qualify for federal funding. DRPA board member Robert Box says the federal rules are reactive, not proactive:

    Box: We can say, if we build this there will be all sorts of residential development on the river as a result of this. You can’t anticipate that, it’s got to be something that exists today when you’re doing ridership numbers.

    PATCO plans to move quickly on the expansion project, beginning with a commitment of half-a-billion dollars from the state of New Jersey.

    Related link: Rail plan revisits history

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.