Monday, September 21, 2009



The house version mandates 4 billion dollars for High Speed Rail and the Senate bill just 1.4 billion.

The bills now move to the conference committee.

The Senate conferees have been named. The House conferees have not been named, but the committee staffers have begun negotiations.

It is important that we push for the conference committee to work for the $4 billion.

If enough people express their support to Congress this precedent can eventually snowball into funding for the Lehigh Valley.
We must ally with organizations across the country so we can support each other!!

Sign the "4 Billion Petition" NOW!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Allentown Mayor Pawlowski and Rail Advocate Paul Marin Meet with Senator Specter and U.S. Transportation Secr. LaHood

U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (left) and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood listen to input from area leaders during a forum Monday held to discuss transportation issues in Pennsylvania and the Lehigh area at the America on Wheels museum. (Jennifer Cecil/The Morning Call / August 24, 2009)

Rail advocate Paul Marin chugged along with his ongoing plea for the restoration of passenger rail service to the Lehigh Valley. Airport director George Doughty touted the need for federal funding for the nation's airports. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski pitched the importance of money for his beloved American Parkway project.

There was nothing new in those appeals, offered at the America on Wheels museum in Allentown Monday. The big difference was on the receiving end: U.S. Transportation Secretary Raymond LaHood was the listener, in person.Introduced by Sen. Arlen Specter as ''the man with the money,'' LaHood visited the city with Specter after the two made similar stops in Norristown, Elizabethtown and Camp Hill earlier in the day.

In Allentown, Specter and LaHood met with elected officials and transportation planners. In a roundtable discussion that amounted mostly to repeated pleas for more funding from Washington -- or at least to keep expected allocations from being cut -- neither official made significant pledges of new money for specific projects.

Rather, they talked broadly about the vital need for transportation improvements, including American Parkway, the ongoing Route 412 corridor work in Bethlehem, and Route 22 upgrades in the Lehigh Valley.Participants included U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, R-15th District; the mayors of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton; executives of Lehigh and Northampton counties; several state House members; and representatives from the state Transportation Department, Lehigh Valley International Airport, Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority, Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and other groups.

In addition to LANTA board member Marin's focus on rail service, which was echoed by state Rep. Karen Beyer, R-Lehigh, state Rep. Jennifer Mann, D-Lehigh, stressed that Pennsylvania, with older transportation infrastructure than many states, can't afford to neglect the needed repairs and replacement.Reacting to questions from Doughty and LANTA Executive Director Armando Greco, LaHood said the federal Highway Trust Fund ''is just inadequate.'' Declining gas-tax revenue as more fuel-efficient cars hit the highways will mean more stable sources of revenue must be found, he said, while pledging to ''work with Congress to put together a strong bill'' to provide adequate funding.Michael Rebert, PennDOT's regional district executive, pitched in for his own plea, citing anticipated future funding shortfalls, particularly if the federal government does not approve the implementation of tolls on I-80. Specter declined to predict what the proposal's chances might be.

Click here for more on this story:,0,3693971.story

Channel 69 Video:

Sunday, May 17, 2009




If you want to see the future of LANTA include rail or trolleys-- Please come out and support one of the most progressive transportation advocates in the State!

Steve Schmitt needs our voices to be heard by Northampton County Council, that his appointment to LANTA should not be blocked because certain Board members are fearful of change.

Date: Thursday May 21st
Time: 6:30 PM

Location: County Council Meeting Chambers
3rd Floor, Northampton County Courthouse
669 Washington St
Easton PA 18042


Steve is Executive Director of CAT:

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Public Hearing

The Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA)
will be holding a public hearing on:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 12 Noon


LANTA Allentown Office and Maintenance Facility
2nd Floor, Community Room
1060 Lehigh Street
Allentown, PA

Question: Should the "people" attend this?

Answer: YES! As many people as possible should attend, to make them understand that is is a Transportation Authority not a Bus Company!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Paul Marin met with this group in Harrisburg and they need to hear your voices on Passenger Rail!

Some have expressed that they have NEVER heard from a single constituent on this issue!
They need to recieve emails, calls, mail, etc...from rail advocates:

State Senators:
Lisa Boscola---
Pat Browne ---
Barry Stout--
Rob Wonderling---

To find out who your state senator is, go to
and type in your zip code.

State House Members:

PRIORITY ***Doug Reichley**---mailto:Reichley**
Craig Dally-
Bob Freeman-
Richard Grucela-
Julie Harhart-

To find your state house member, go to:


By Paul Marin

April 2009

I had the honor of attending the Obama press conference. It was very exciting to hear the President set a new agenda for transportation.

The President laid out two priorities: Fixing existing routes to reduce transit times and constructing new world-class high speed rail lines.

Here are a couple key quotes from the event. I am not a reporter, so these should not be treated as direct quotes, but they give a good feel for the tone of the event:

Secretary LaHood: There will be a time when we look back on this day as a game changer; A time that we got serious about public transit for all Americans.

President Obama: We are making a down payment on the economy of the future. We need to start a transportation system equal to the needs of the 21st century. High-speed rail has been happening to decades, the problem isthat it is happening in other places. There is no reason that we can't do this.

More details:
President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary LaHood Call for U.S. High Speed Passenger Trains

Contact: Jill Zuckman Telephone: (202) 366-4570
Thursday, April 16, 2009 (Washington, DC)

President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary LaHood Call for U.S. High Speed Passenger Trains

Vision for a New Era in Rail Entails Clean, Energy-Efficient Option for Travelers

President Barack Obama, along with Vice President Biden and SecretaryLaHood, announced a new U.S. push today to transform travel in America,c reating high-speed rail lines from city to city, reducing dependence oncars and planes and spurring economic development.

The President released a strategic plan outlining his vision for high speedrail in America. The plan identifies $8 billion provided in the ARRA and $1billion a year for five years requested in the federal budget as a downpayment to jump-start a potential world-class passenger rail system and sets the direction of transportation policy for the future.

The strategic plan will be followed by detailed guidance for state and local applicants. By late summer, the Federal Railroad Administration will begin awarding the first round of grants. Additional funding for long-term planning and development is expected from legislation authorizing federal surface transportation programs.

The report formalizes the identification of ten high-speed rail corridorsas potential recipients of federal funding. Those lines are: California,Pacific Northwest, South Central, Gulf Coast, Chicago Hub Network, Florida,Southeast, Keystone, Empire and Northern New England.

Also, opportunities exist for the Northeast Corridor from Washington to Boston to compete for funds to improve the nation's only existing high-speed rail service.

With a boost from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Obama administration launched a competitive process to drive local communities todevelop their high-speed rail potential. The President, Vice President andSecretary of Transportation are urging states and local communities to put together plans for a network of 100 mile to 600 mile corridors, which will compete for the federal dollars.

The merit-driven process will result in federal grants as soon as late summer 2009. --

President Obama's vision for high-speed rail mirrors that of President Eisenhower, the father of the Interstate highway system, which revolutionized the way Americans traveled. Now, high-speed rail has the potential to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, lower harmful carbon emissions, foster new economic development and give travelers more choices when it comes to moving around the country.

"My high-speed rail proposal will lead to innovations that change the waywe travel in America. We must start developing clean, energy-efficient transportation that will define our regions for centuries to come," said President Obama.

"A major new high-speed rail line will generate many thousands of construction jobs over several years, as well as permanent jobs for rail employees and increased economic activity in the destinations these trains serve. High-speed rail is long-overdue, and this plan lets American travelers know that they are not doomed to a future of long linesat the airports or jammed cars on the highways."

"Today, we see clearly how Recovery Act funds and the Department of Transportation are building the platform for a brighter economic future -they're creating jobs and making life better for communities everywhere," said Vice President Biden. "Everyone knows railways are the best way to connect communities to each other, and as a daily rail commuter for over 35 years, this announcement is near and dear to my heart.

Investing in ahigh-speed rail system will lower our dependence on foreign oil and the bill for a tank of gas; loosen the congestion suffocating our highways andskyways; and significantly reduce the damage we do to our planet." "President Obama's vision of robust, high-speed rail service offersAmericans the kind of travel options that throughout our history have contributed to economic growth and enhanced quality of life," said Secretary LaHood.

"We simply can't build the economy of the future on thetransportation networks of the past." The plan identifies two types of projects for funding. One would create new corridors for world-class high-speed rail like the kind found in Europe and Japan.

Another would involve making train service along existing rail lines incrementally faster. Under the plan, high-speed rail development will advance along three funding tracks:

Individual Projects-- Providing grants to complete individual projects that are "ready to go" with completed environmental and preliminary engineering work with an emphasis on near term job creation. Eligible projects include acquisition, construction of or improvements to infrastructure, facilities and equipment.

Corridor programs-- Developing entire phases or geographic sections of high-speed rail corridors that have completed corridor plans, environmental documentation and have a prioritized list of projects to help meet the corridor objectives.

Planning--Entering into cooperative agreements for planning activities (including development of corridor plans and State Rail Plans) using non-American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) appropriations funds. This third approach is intended to help establish a structured mechanism and funding stream for future corridor development activities.


From the NY Times, April 16, 2009:

With clogged highways and overburdened airports, economic growth is suffering, Mr. Obama said at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, shortly before leaving for a trip to Mexico and then Trinidad and Tobago.

“What we need, then, is a smart transportation system equal to the needs of the 21st century,” he said, “a system that reduces travel times and increases mobility, a system that reduces congestion and boosts productivity, a system that reduces destructive emissions and creates jobs.”

And he added, “There’s no reason why we can’t do this.”

Mr. Obama said the $8 billion for high-speed rail in his stimulus package — to be spent over two years — and an additional $1 billion a year being budgeted over the next five years, would provide a “jump start” toward achieving that vision.

The stimulus money has yet to be allocated to specific projects, but Mr. Obama said the Transportation Department would begin awarding money by the end of summer.
The government has identified 10 corridors, each from 100 to 600 miles long, with greatest promise for high-speed development.

They are: a northern New England line; an Empire line running east to west in New York State; a Keystone corridor running laterally through Pennsylvania; a major Chicago hub network; a southeast network connecting the District of Columbia to Florida and the Gulf Coast; a Gulf Coast line extending from eastern Texas to western Alabama; a corridor in central and southern Florida; a Texas-to-Oklahoma line; a California corridor where voters have already approved a line that will allow travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in two and a half hours; and a corridor in the Pacific Northwest.

Only one high-speed line is now operating, on the Northeast corridor between Washington and Boston, and it will be eligible to compete for money to make improvements.

Mr. Obama’s remarks mixed ambition and modesty, reflecting the fact that American high-speed rail is in its infancy compared with systems in France and Japan.

“Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 miles an hour, walking only a few steps to public transportation, and ending up just blocks from your destination,” Mr. Obama said. “It is happening right now; it’s been happening for decades. The problem is, it’s been happening elsewhere, not here.”

The Federal Railroad Administration defines high-speed rail as any train traveling 90 m.p.h. or faster. In Japan, the Shinkansen trains average about 180 m.p.h. The TGV train in France uses special tracks to sustain speeds of 133 m.p.h. on the Paris-Lyon route.

The Acela Express operated by Amtrak is capable of a speed of 150 m.p.h., but track conditions and other rail traffic bring its average speed to just over half that.