The Case for Rail Transit


We need to think creatively to define a bold vision and strategic plan for regional
transit’s role in the overall regional transportation system to ensure mobility, economic viability and quality of life in Southwestern Pennsylvania for the next generation.

The Allegheny River Valley faces complex and diverse transportation, land use, economic and development issues which, without a strategy, will continue into the future. The future of the Allegheny River Valley must include investment in rail transit. The days of adding more and more pavement to our highway system are rapidly coming to an end, hastened by fluctuating land values, high gas prices and the realization that future population and employment growth can only be accommodated through compact, high-density land use served by transit. We already have the infrastructure, on both banks of the Allegheny River.

Any arguments against using existing track and right of ways don’t hold water. Everything is already in place. In South Florida the counties of Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade did it, and successfully we may add. Those 3 counties serve millions of commuters with their Tri-Rail System. Read about it. The South Florida Tri-Rail.

Read More About Tri-Rail Here
We can do this sort of thing right here in the Allegheny River Valley!

Why Rail Transit?
• Economic Development
• Access to Jobs
• Environmental Benefits
• Redevelopment Opportunities
• Mobility for All

How does the plan help the enviroment?
• Millions less vehicle miles traveled per year
• Hundreds of thousands of pounds per day less greenhouse gas emissions
• Million of BTU’s per day less energy consumption

ART’s Strategic Regional Transit Plan: The Goal July 2015
Allegheny River Valley Rail Transportation needs local dedicated funding annually to build and operate a transit network over the next 20 years.

Possible funding sources include:
• Per-gallon fuel tax
• One-time automobile title fee
• Daily rental-car tax
• Annual automobile registration fee
• Regional sales tax
• Property tax
• Toll revenue
• Lottery revenue

Your Support is Needed
As the Advocates for Rail Transit (ART) moves forward, we will be looking for assistance from local organizations, the business community and public agencies to make this plan a reality. The benefits are too important for Southwestern Pennsylvania to miss: economic development, job access, environmental preservation, redevelopment opportunities and improved mobility. But these benefits hinge on local dedicated funding for Allegheny River Valley Rail Transportation.

Every local dollar raised generates an incredible level of economic benefits for the Allegheny River Valley vision. Generous state and federal matches magnify the return on these funds even more. Support transit and show how fast we can change our future with the choices we make.

Rail transit helps the family budget. How can rail transit expansion be funded? More than 60 percent of the public thinks that transit is an important part of the Allegheny River Valley’s overall transportation system needs. Using public transportation may eliminate the need for a second car, saving a household as much as $8,400 per year.

What does the public think?

Economic Benefits?

Common sense tells us: Local funding generates local economic benefits. Is this just a pipe dream, or does it have real potential? If we leave it up to the politicians to decide for us it is most likely a pipe dream. However, in today’s political environment we see grassroots activism the likes of which we have not seen since the 1960’s.

Voters across America are getting involved. Voters are taking charge of their own destiny by voting out the politicians who are not interested in serving the people who elected them to office. If we stick together and make our voices heard we can make a difference. It won’t be easy, but nothing worth having ever is. Let’s start by asking the candidates for governor from our area where they stand on supporting us, the residents of the “North Fork” of the Three Rivers…The Allegheny River Valley.

Too often the politician tells us what he or she will do if elected. They have it backwards. We need to straighten them out. We need to tell them what we want them to do if elected. We want commuter rail transit to and from downtown Pittsburgh, and we have waited for it long enough.

Area Politicians:
Congressman Jason Altmire (Does not respond to voters outside of his district)
State Senator Jim Ferlo
State Rep. Frank Dermody
Congressman Mike Doyle

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3 Responses to The Case for Rail Transit

  1. Fiori says:

    High-speed trains in U.S. may not be too far off
    From Bloomberg News
    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    TOKYO — Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood rode a 312-mph, magnetic-levitation train here Tuesday — stoking optimism that Japan may be able to sell the technology overseas.

    “We are right at the beginning of an opportunity for American cities to be connected by high-speed trains,” LaHood said after his 27-minute ride at a test track in Yamanashi, west of Tokyo. “I’m delighted with this opportunity to really experience all the technology.”

    Maglev trains float above the tracks and are propelled by magnetic currents.

    LaHood visited the Central Japan Railway line as renewed U.S. spending on railways revives optimism about maglev projects, including a possible link between Washington and Baltimore.

    The proposed line, costing about $5.8 billion, would cut the 40-mile journey to 18 minutes and could be extended to New York and Boston, according to a Maryland Department of Transport-backed group promoting the project.

    Japan has pledged to support JR Central’s bid to build the Washington-Baltimore line, possibly including loans from a state-owned bank.

    President Obama has approved $8 billion in federal funds for conventional and high-speed projects across the country.

    Japan’s backing for maglev sales is part of wider U.S. efforts to help trainmakers compete with Germany’s Siemens AG, France’s Alstom SA, Bombardier of Canada and China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corp. in the United States.

    LaHood said the United States would look at opportunities for maglev trains. He declined to comment on government backing for the Washington-Baltimore line.

    “The only thing we ask of manufacturers — whether it’s maglev or other technologies – is to build factories in America and hire American workers,” he said.

    The Baltimore-Washington line has been studied since 1994, according to the Federal Railroad Administration website. The line was expected to begin as early as this year, according to a timeline on the website.

  2. Bob Shaffer says:

    NOW is the time, not later after more development cut off future rights-of-way.

    The one (and almost only) rulethat needs to be observed is to provide EXCLUSIVE rights of way; that is, subterranean, elevated or with over and underpasses at all crossings of the rail. Otherwise, it is tangled up in the traffic, does not provide better survice, and by interfering with auto traffic, makes that worse, too. After that, although it can be rail, bus, monorail or whatever is found suitable, it is best to have only one technology that is interchangable and easily maintained.

    • Fiori says:

      In Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties Tri-Rail coexists with CSX, and AMTRAK using the same rights of way. It is a cooperative effort that is working well . It seems to work seemlessly. How do they do it?

      You can read more about how they do it here.

      View Map of South Florida Tri-Rail

      What we are proposing here is using what is already there to its highest and best use. The pre-existing rail system on the east bank of the Allegheny River was once used for passenger rail service well into the 1960’s. The issue of railroad crossings and interruption of vehicular traffic at those crossings already exists. To be sure such interrutions may be more frequent; how much more frequent needs to be studied. Because there is very little vehicular traffic and rail crossings along the river route, we remain positive this should not become a sticking point. The only real change we seek is the addition of “commuter rail transit service” to a system that is already in place.

      On the subject of technologies, the standard guage railroad can be used all the way to Station Square, and passengers could use shuttle services from there to downtown locations. Other passengers could transfer to the Maglev technology for continued rail travel to the south and west. Such transfers from one technology or method of rail transportaion to another is already being done for example, at the Miami Tri-Rail/Metrorail Transfer Station in south Florida.

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