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Local railroad authority is another step closer to restoring rail service between Scranton & NYC

 Sign at U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright's press conference on Friday, March 17.
Kat Bolus
Sign at U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright's press conference on Friday, March 17.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and New Jersey Transit Authority are signing on to support the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority’s application to fund the Lackawanna Cut-off train.

“We are feeling very good about returning passenger rail to Northeastern Pennsylvania," said U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright.

Cartwright held a press conference on Friday, March 17, at his Scranton office to announce the new support. He was joined by Larry Malaski and Robert Hay from the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority (PNRRA).

PennDOT is taking the lead on submitting an application to the Federal Railroad Authority’s (FRA) Corridor ID Program to fund the passenger train service between Scranton and New York City. The local railroad authority and New Jersey Transit Authority will be co-signers. The application is due by March 27.

"We've got all the parties together on one page, fully supportive of this quarter," said Malski, president of the PNRRA. "We believe because of that homework, we will have one of the ... better applications being filed across the country for quarters.”

The November 2021 federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Act included $66 billion in funding for passenger rail service across the country. The first step in financing the local train is acceptance into the corridor ID program. If accepted, the authority will receive $500,000 to do an engineering study, said Cartwright. From there, a service development plan will be created and contracts to get the train line up and running will be put out to bid.

Malski joked that the authority has been trying to restore rail service to New York in the region for just a few years: 30 to 40.

"We can get this thing done when we get the financing," he said.

The FRA is expected to make its decision on which projects will be funded by late May.

Kat Bolus is the community reporter for the newly-formed WVIA News Team. She is a former reporter and columnist at The Times-Tribune, a Scrantonian and cat mom.
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