U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire said today that he will push to have a Pittsburgh-to-Cleveland line added to a national list of high-speed rail corridors.
The list of 10 corridors announced by President Barack Obama this year as part of his push to develop a network of intercity passenger rail lines included a Chicago-to-Cleveland line and one from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia.
At a hearing in Pittsburgh today, Mr. Altmire, D-McCandless, described Pittsburgh to Cleveland as a "missing link" that, if filled, would establish Pittsburgh as the hub of a network stretching across the upper Midwest. He said he has submitted the proposal for inclusion in the multiyear surface transportation bill that Congress is expected to consider this year.
The federal economic stimulus law allocated $8 billion for high-speed rail development, and Mr. Obama has proposed an additional $5 billion in his budget. A blueprint of the new surface transportation bill released last week called for an additional $50 billion over six years for high-speed intercity passenger rail development in the designated corridors.
At today's hearing of the House subcommittee on railroads, a federal official said the first applications for the $8 billion in rail stimulus money will be due Aug. 24. Mark E. Yachmetz, associate administrator for railroad development for the Federal Railroad Administration, also said a Pittsburgh-to-Cleveland rail line would be eligible for stimulus funding even though it is not a designated high-speed corridor.
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Jon Schmitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1868.