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Old Posted May 24, 2023, 12:12 AM
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Urbanthusiat Urbanthusiat is offline
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Probably a good sign.

Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority will use federal funds to develop service plan

Karen Shuey, Reading Eagle, Pa.

Tue, May 23, 2023 at 12:23 PM EDT·2 min read

May 23—The Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority has learned it can start spending $750,000 in federal funding it received last year.

The money was awarded to help cover the cost to study the restoration of passenger rail service to the existing freight lines between Reading and Philadelphia. The funding was included in the federal budget as part of a program that allows congressional members to request money to support community projects.

But the authority has not spent any of that money.

Members of the authority said they were waiting to hear if their proposal to restore passenger rail service would be admitted into a Federal Railroad Administration program that will distribute millions of dollars from the federal infrastructure bill enacted in the fall of 2021 to build new service corridors.

Tom Frawley, authority executive director, has said that funding is essential in the effort to bring service back to the region.

If accepted into the program, the authority would receive $500,000 to develop a service plan that examines ridership and revenue forecasts, capital programming and operational analysis. The authority would also be able to begin negotiations with Amtrak and Norfolk Southern about using their existing track.

The Federal Railroad Administration is expected to announce in September if the project is accepted into the program.

Frawley said it turns out the authority can start moving forward with planning before that decision is announced.

He told members of the authority during a meeting Monday that he recently met with representatives from the Federal Railroad Administration who informed him that the authority should use the $750,000 to begin work on the service plan.

"It's basically a head start on the program," he said.

Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach, who serves as chairman of the authority and also attended the meeting with Federal Railroad Administration representatives, said he was told that delaying getting started on the service plan until they were accepted into the federal program would be a mistake.

"It was a very, very good meeting," he said.

Despite the news that the authority can begin moving forward, no timeline was established for when it would initiate the service plan.

Also at the meeting, Phoenixville Mayor Peter Urscheler said the marketing and public relations committee recommends hiring Virtual Farm Creative to manage the social media accounts of the authority. The board unanimously approved the move.

The contract will begin June 1 and pay the Chester County-based company $2,500 a month.
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Old Posted Today, 2:03 AM
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Septa signs contract with Alstom for new modern trolley fleet. Article link includes nifty video animations:

Beatboxing under the bath water

Is there anything lower than a Rupert Murdoch?
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