SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - "The train is coming!" That's been the buzz across Northeastern Pennsylvania for decades. But will that project ever actually happen?
Bob Hay of PA Northeast Regional Railroad Authority says yes.
"It's a major project", says Bob Hay, Vice Chair of PA Northeast Regional Railroad Authority.
Plans for a passenger train to run between Scranton and the Big Apple are slowly picking up steam.
"For people in Monroe County, they're sick and tired of hearing that the train is coming," laughs John Moyer, Monroe County Commissioner.
Lackawanna and Monroe Counties recently put in $50,000 dollars each towards preliminary engineering for the project. It's part of a $300,000 dollar study to determine costs of replacing rails, purchasing a train, and repairing bridges.
Some people say, why spend money on a train when commuters can use Marts busses? Local leaders say that train would bring a huge economic boost to the area.
A passenger train would also take traffic off the congested Interstate 80.
Hay explains, "we cant continue to put cars on the road. We need to have an alternative"
The train would make several stops: including in Scranton, Tobyhanna, Analomink, and Delaware Water Gap. Monroe County Commissioner John Moyer is hopeful about the project, but after more than 30 years he's not optimistic.
"Certainly I'm not holding my breath waiting for it to come," Moyer explains.
After preliminary engineering work is complete, the next step is raising money for the installation itself. The commuter train will cost at least $550 million dollars.