Hess Offers Support to Preserve Amtrak’s ‘Pennsylvanian’ Line

HARRISBURG – Speaking at a rally today in Huntingdon to support the preservation of the Amtrak Keystone West Corridor train better known as “The Pennsylvanian,” Rep. Dick Hess (R-Bedford/Fulton/Huntingdon), majority chairman of the House Transportation Committee, told the crowd that the Harrisburg-to-Pittsburgh line is a vital cog in a balanced transportation system. 

“There is a great deal of history attached to the route as passenger trains have traveled the corridor for 159 years,” said Hess. “The actual Pennsylvanian was established in 1980 and provides important service to the business community and leisure travel population. I believe we need to improve this service with better management, which we can achieve by getting more influence in its operation.” 

Hess spoke at a very well-attended “Save our Train” rally held at the Amtrak station in Huntingdon, which was attended by Rep. Mike Fleck (R-Huntingdon/Blair/Mifflin), local county commissioners and representatives from Juniata College and Huntingdon County Economic Development Partners. The keynote speaker was Michael Alexandria of Western Pennsylvanians for Passenger Rail. 

Hess emphasized the point that when the line was subsidized by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), and had more say in the scheduling and operation of the Pennsylvanian, it made money rather than losing it. He says that is what’s needed now, and that he will work with all parties involved to make this happen.

“I have spoken to Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch about this service and have also offered to seek assistance from Congressman Bill Shuster, chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, to create a solution that would not only save the train, but grow the service to feed the successful Philadelphia and New York service,” said Hess. “I believe we have bipartisan support in the House to get this done.” 

Hess cited the budget proposal by Gov. Tom Corbett which includes $80 million for an intermodal transportation fund. He said it has not been determined how that money will be spent. 

“We have the capability of providing funding for the Pennsylvanian in this budget proposal and it should be included,” said Hess. 

The rally was sponsored by the Huntingdon County Business and Industry organization. 

Representative Dick Hess
78th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Raymond Smith
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