Passenger rail service proposal renewed

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Across Youngstown, railroad tracks run throughout the city.

For decades, they have been used for freight trains, but the push for passenger trains may eventually be a reality.

“This is a grassroots movement. It is up to the people of Youngstown and Erie, Pa. to make this happen and we believe we can make it happen,” Brian Pitzer of All Aboard Erie said during a meeting Thursday night in downtown Youngstown.

The ideal service would go from Erie, Pa. over into Ashtubula then south to Youngstown and eventually into New Castle and end in Pittsburgh. Pitzer is going around to different communities across the region to get the word out.

“If you look at the future and we decide what of kind of future do we want to have, it would definitely include high-speed rail,” Pitzer said.

Other parts of Ohio have pushed for passenger rail in recent years. The Buckeye State lost $400 million in federal funding in 2010 after Gov. John Kasich said he wouldn’t support passenger train service in the state. The money then went to help fund passenger rail efforts in a number of other states across the country.

Pitzer said if their current plan succeeds, and they can raise the money, it would be difficult for politics to put an end to the process.

“It has potential to become an important hub for high-speed rail and we’re talking 110 mph potentially,” he said.

Before any building takes place, the group will have to raise $25,000 for an initial study to see where the trains would go and if they could use existing tracks or if they would have to build new tracks.

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