The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will be holding a public meeting in Philadelphia this month to discuss the future of the Northeast Corridor's passenger rail service. While four alternative plans for NEC Future will be presented for public input, one of the more head-turning proposals (at least for Philadelphia) is the possibility of the construction of a new downtown rail station. Oh, and that whole $151B plan for the development of a new high-speed rail line that could get you to New York in 37 minutes. You know, no big deal.
A report from The Inquirer maps out each of the alternatives, which range from upping spending to maintain the current 457-mile stretch from DC to Boston, new rail service to keep pace with population growth, new service and route improvements to outpace population growth by adding four to six track along the entire NEC and, finally, "transformative" improvements, which includes the high-speed rail line for the section south of and north of New York City. Amtrak estimates that would cost $151B to develop the high-speed rail line.
The whole idea of a new downtown rail station is found in alternative three, which also mentions that 30th Street Station would remain as a regional hub. The new station will have a stop at the Philadelphia International Airport — imagine that! There is no official word on how much any of this would cost. The final proposal, which includes the how much will it cost portion of this plan, will be released in late 2016. But hey, it's fun to imagine another train station coming to Philly.
Improvements to the NEC could spell big bucks for the Philadelphia region. Newly elected Congressman Brendan Boyle recently told Philadelphia Magazine that he intends to make a strong push for the area's mass transit. Here's why:
"We sit smack dab in the middle of the Northeast corridor. If we could shorten the times between New York and Philadelphia, and Philadelphia and Washington... it would be amazing. If you talk about one thing that could really positively change the trajectory of our city over the next 20 years, that could be it. It's an incredible growth opportunity for our city." The public meeting will be held at 1234 Market St., SEPTA headquarters, on Nov. 19 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
· Northeast Corridor planners to outline rail options for the public [The Inquirer]
· NEC Future [Official]