Deal Reached with Amtrak To Keep The Pennsylvanian Rolling

Mar 21, 2013

Amtrak service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg might not be derailed after all.

The Corbett administration announced Thursday that an agreement has been reached with Amtrak on a new funding plan that will maintain rail passenger service between Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

Under the revised agreement with Amtrak, Pennsylvania will provide $3.8 million a year to maintain the service featuring one train a day in each direction between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. The through service continues to and from Philadelphia and New York City.

"The original cost was $6.5 (million)," said Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Chizmar. "But the ongoing negotiations got the number down to $3.8 (million), which is doable under the governor's recommended funding plan."

Chizmar says the Pennsylvanian is important to more than Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.  

"It's a very important service to maintain," he said. "There's a number of stops between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg — folks in Lewistown, Huntingdon, Altoona, Johnstown and even Greensburg — it was a vital link for Pennsylvania."

Governor Tom Corbett issued a statement saying he is "committed to finding sensible solutions that recognize the constraints we in government face, but at the same time provide needed services. This new arrangement meets those criteria." 

The agreement must still be approved by the legislature since the money is part of the transportation budget.