STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Congressman Matt Cartwright along with transportation and local officials held an event to push towards restoring passenger rail service to Northeastern Pennsylvania from New York.
It’s been more than 50 years since the Phoebe Snow Passenger Service from Scranton to New York City has operated. On Tuesday, Congressman Matt Cartwright, Amtrak, and local officials held a press conference in Stroudsburg to back the push to restore the service.
“We got a big leg up when we passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which includes $66 billion for the restoration of rail lines,” said Representative Cartwright.
Since the summer, Amtrak, along with the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority, has been performing studies on existing rail lines to apply for those funds when available.
“Money has always been the hold-up and we have some money from there now to do it,” Cartwright explained.
The passenger rail service would include three round trips between Scranton and New York City. Amtrak’s study estimated that this new service would generate $87 million in annual economic activity.
Chris Barrett, with the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau, says the rail service would be a game-changer with the 30 million guests who visit the Poconos every year.
“It’s going to benefit our industry and bring folks to the Pocono mountains who have never been here before, who may not have transportation, and it’s going to enhance the quality of life for everybody who lives here so we can continue to attract a great workforce, ” said Barrett,
Congressman Cartwright also says the new service will help more than 20,000 workers who commute from NEPA to New Jersey and New York.
The owner of Barley Creek Brewing Company, Trip Ruvane says he commuted into downtown Manhattan for nearly 10 years and he believes the railway will benefit local businesses.”
“Great Wolf, with Kalahari, with Aquatopia, and all the other small, family-owned businesses like mine that are going to benefit from a number of new guests,” said Ruvane.
Railroad authority officials say seven miles of train tracks in New Jersey are under construction for repairs and they hope it will prioritize the service when applying for funds.
Amtrak Officials told Eyewitness News they are currently doing a study for the railroad authority and the funds from the act will be available in about 18 months.