EAST STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The push to bring a passenger rail service to the Poconos is a hot topic among the community and business leaders.

Esu’s annual economic outlook summit has more with how amtrak was the center of the discussion.

An Amtrak official was the keynote speaker at the East Stroudsburg University’s Annual Economic Outlook Summit and was also involved in a Q-and-A session which provided us with more information as to where the project currently stands.

East Stroudsburg University’s Ninth Annual Economic Outlook Summit kicked off at Kalahari resort Friday. Its focus this year is on innovation and opportunity.

“Economic development for the region is a critical part of what we do as a university. It’s a critical part of what makes the Poconos I would say a great place to live, learn, work, and play,” stated Kenneth Long, interim president at East Stroudsburg University.

The main topic at hand was amtrak’s vision for rail service to the Pocono Mountains. The conversation of recovering the train service to NEPA has been ongoing for decades.

Congressman Matt Cartwright has backed the push for it announced last month that an amtrak station is in the plans for a ‘Margaritaville Resort’ coming to the Poconos.

An amtrak official tells Eyewitness News NEPA provides them with a good opportunity for growth and they’re thankful for enthusiasm.

“Any kind of local support and that kind of involvement you know from the private sector is only a plus,” said Dennis Newman, executive VP of strategy planning/accessibility at Amtrak.

Studies are underway and in the planning stages of recovering the railway.

“Our rail authority has already entered into a contract with amtrak where we are paying the $400,000 to do preliminary engineering,” explained Larry Malski, president, of PA northeast regional railroad authority.

Malski says the engineers are looking into all aspects of the service they would need to apply for funding.

“They’re looking at the physical characteristics of our railroad, i.E. How fast can you go, so we can determine the train schedules, they’re looking at train schedules, they’re proposing three trains each way a day which is a very good start,” stated Malski.

Malski tells us the study will be complete at the end of August and that information will start the process to applying for funding to then build the service.