Rail Options From Lehigh Valley to New York City Studied

June 2010Newsletters In the Zone

The Central NJ/Raritan Valley Transit Study (CNJ/RV) – Pennsylvania Component is an extension of the NJ TRANSIT CNJ/RV Transit Study, which assessed commuter bus and commuter rail transit improvement alternatives along Interstate 78 (I-78) in New Jersey. The purpose of the Pennsylvania Component Study , commissioned by the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, was to build upon the New Jersey portion of the study (New Jersey Component Study) by identifying and assessing options to improve rail and bus services along the Route 22 and I-78 corridors in the Lehigh Valley and the northern New Jersey/New York Urban Core (Jersey City, Newark, Midtown Manhattan and Lower Manhattan). The rail and bus options were developed to provide local decision makers with information to decide whether they warrant more detailed study and development.

According to the $250,000 study, it developed preliminary constructability, ridership and cost information for rail and bus alternatives that can be used to determine whether any alternatives are warranted and should be advanced. No final determinations have been made as a result of this study, and no funds have been identified to initiate the next phase of alternative development. The total cost to extend passenger rail the 17 miles from New Jersey to Allentown would be more than $600 million to carry the projected 800 daily riders.

As reported by the Express-Times newspaper, "[t]he capital costs appear too high and the projected ridership figures are too low at first glance but some officials feel the region can't afford not to look at the potential of rail."

The study findings were unveiled at a recent Regional Transportation Forum held in Bethlehem, PA, at a RenewLV forum.

For more information, please contact Robert W. Gundlach, Jr. at 215.918.3636 or [email protected].