Monday, November 30, 2015

Obama wants new Philly-Pittsburgh trains; who'll use them?

The Obama administration wants to spend $8 billion on new high-speed rail, partly to make it easier to get from Center City to downtown Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. It doesn't explain why anyone would want to.

Obama wants new Philly-Pittsburgh trains; who'll use them?


The Obama administration -- with Vice President and Amtrak-lover Joe Biden large in the picture -- wants to spend $8 billion on new high-speed rail, partly to make it easier to get from Center City to downtown Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. It doesn't explain why anyone would want to. View the new high-speed rail plans here.

UPDATE: "Your questions are best directed to the state. They're the ones proposing new service," says federal railroad spokesman Warren Flatau. Our Harrisburg bureau is following up with Gov. Rendell's office.

EARLIER: Seems to us the only obvious users are politicians and lobbyists who'd like a new taxpayer-subsidized route to commute to our state capital. Otherwise the train would run to State College and the Nittany Lion stadium, or maybe to Hersheypark -- the only upstate destinations that matter to most big-city Pennsylvanians.

Wouldn't most commuters be better off if the feds spent more improving and expanding Septa and other commuter service, which is awfully crowded, and rundown? Or improve the busy Amtrak Northeast Corridor, the only intercity line in the country that comes close to making financial sense. Or do something about those ridiculous, rising tolls on that politicians' playground, the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

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About this blog

PhillyDeals posts interviews, drafts and updates that Joseph N. DiStefano writes alongside his Sunday and Monday columns and ongoing articles about Philadelphia-area business.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn. He taught writing and research at St. Joe’s. He has written for the Inquirer since 1989, except when he left a few times to work at Bloomberg and elsewhere. He wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six kids with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at, 215.854.5194, @PhillyJoeD. Read his blog posts at and his Inquirer columns at Bloomberg posts his items at NH BLG_PHILLYDEAL.

Reach Joseph at or 215 854 5194.

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