WFMZ Berks Regional News, David Kostival
READING, Pa. –The Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority on Monday learned that the effort to restore passenger rail service between Reading and Philadelphia was brought to the attention of a senior advisor to the Biden Administration.
Scott France, a member of the authority and the director the Montgomery County Planning Commission, reported that Mitch Landrieu, a White House senior advisor responsible for implementing the coordination of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, visited Conshohocken on Friday.
“Congresswoman Madeleine Dean brought Mitch Landrieu, also a former mayor of New Orleans, to Conshohocken to spend some time with a broad delegation of representatives to talk about a number of infrastructure projects.
France said Berks County Commissioner Lucine E. Sihelnik was in attendance and gave a speech at a press conference on the value of restoring passenger rail service to the Schuylkill River corridor.
France said he also had the opportunity to be part of a roundtable discussion with Landrieu where he also had the chance to talk about the project.
In addition, France highlighted that Pottstown was selected for the Thriving Communities Program, which is administered by the US Department of Transportation.
France said there were over 400 applications, with 60 applicants being selected, and only two in Pennsylvania.
“It’s not a grant so much as a program and opportunity,” France explained. “Roughly $5 million goes toward fourteen communities which are identified as a network of communities that would work together on acquiring grants and doing planning for infrastructure, including passenger rail.”
The authority is a tri-county effort between Berks, Chester and Montgomery Counties to restore passenger rail service between Reading and Philadelphia.
A key component to the effort is getting the SRPRA project accepted into the Federal Railroad Administration’s Corridor Identification Development Program, which would open the door to the planning process.
The authority has submitted the application and expects to find out results in mid-September.
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