In a blog this past April we wrote about Pennsylvania’s efforts to get a piece of the money that would be recirculating due to the rejection of a rail project in Florida. Pennsylvania wanted to use the money to (yet again) improve the speed of travel between Harrisburg and Philadelphia. In early May the state got $40 million to dedicate to that corridor.
So what of the western half of the state? A PENNDOT study said "increasing service from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh is a logical progression to create a successful corridor linking most of Pennsylvania". But don’t look for travel time to be anything remotely like the connection in the eastern part of the state: right now a five hour trip from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg would be reduced to a four hour trip, and even that won’t happen in one fell swoop, but rather incrementally. One consultant at a meeting on Monday discussing the idea said "the likelihood of reaching 110 mph in this corridor is unlikely at this point…what we’re really talking about is higher-speed rail."
And again, it won’t be a far stretch to imagine that there will be recurring requests for money to make the "somewhat faster" connection happen.