Monday, September 29, 2008


Northampton County Council Meeting:
Vote on Funding for the Planning Phase of a Unified Rail System
Thursday, OCTOBER 2 at 6:00PM
Northampton County Government Center
669 Washington Str, 3rd floor Easton PA

Paul Marin will be making his presentation and the council should be voting on a commitment of $75,000 toward the planning phase.

BTW: There were about 80 attendees at the gathering last Tuesday at the Third Street Alliance in Easton. Paul did a great job again. There was lots of healthy discussion, even a strong thought provoking comment questioning the effort. That was responded to by equally thought out comments.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


LANTA is in the midst of developing a regional plan to change and improve public transit in the Valley. Three public open house meetings were conducted to gather your suggestions, ideas and comments about what YOU want in your public transportation system:

The numbers of people attending were very good! We put RAIL ON THE RADAR. Some viewers of this blog were concerned that LANTA was completely fixated on only bus service. Do not despair. Our voices were essential in making them realize that the people are demanding a Unified Rail Service.
Pressure must be applied consistently and over time to succeed.

More on the Open House Meetings.......

Fellow rail supporters,

It has been a long time coming, but we finally have a legitimate opportunity as citizens to affect a sea-change in the course of rail transportation in the Lehigh Valley. Paul Marin is on the Board of Directors of LANTA. He is also a member of the Transportation sub-committee of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC). He has gained the support of the LVEDC in funding a rail study that will provide an opportunity for the Lehigh Valley to partner with the ongoing study being prepared by New Jersey Transit (NJT) that will evaluate bringing rail to Phillipsburg. Our participation would assure that Easton, Bethlehem and Allentown are included as potential stops in that study. Obviously, Easton is the key link to this system.

The LVEDC has committed $100,000 to this effort. The study will cost $250,000 - the cost of one, modest suburban home in Forks Township. Further funding of $150,000 will be required to move forward. That money will be requested (in the amount of $75,000 each) by County Executives Don Cunnigham and John Stoffa from Lehigh and Northampton County Councils respectively. Lehigh County is probably solidly behind it. Our job will be to make sure Northampton County hears our message loud and clear.

Paul Marin has put his money where his mouth is by hiring Wallace, Roberts and Todd, Architects and Planners (WRT) of Philadelphia to do a preliminary PowerPoint presentation on the potential of rail in the Lehigh Valley. WRT is well known for it's planning of Inner Harbor in Baltimore and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit plan (DART). This PowerPoint will also be presented to County Council on October 2nd. Paul and I agree that you - the Easton transit-using community - deserves to have the presentation personally delivered to you so that you have all your questions answered before the funding request is delivered to the County.

It will be very important to show up in force at the County meeting to let the politicians know we are behind this modest investment to direct our future transit system towards rail and the economic benefits it will enable here. Please do everything you can to attend this presentation and let everyone you know in the Easton area who will be affected by this transit study to attend as well.

Also that same evening, as luck would have it (and coincidentally right next door to our meeting location) LANTA will be presenting their regional transportation plan update for the Lehigh Valley. There will be a presentation, an opportunity to review the plan and to make public comment. It would be great for as many people as possible to also attend part of this meeting.

Let LANTA know that a plan that does not include provision for future rail service is no plan at all. LANTA must be made to understand that they are a transportation agency - not just a bus company. We have a unique opportunity to drive the point home and we should take advantage of it.

I look forward to seeing all of you soon and working together - with Paul and all of you - to lead Easton and the Lehigh Valley into the 21st Century of transportation planning and economic success.

Dennis R. Lieb