ABOVE PHOTO: Proposed Rail Service Corridor to Reading ( Graphic/ PennDOT)
NORRISTOWN, Pa. — The Montgomery County Commissioners recently took another important step to restore passenger rail service between Reading and Philadelphia in partnership with Berks and Chester counties. During their regularly scheduled meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to publicly advertise and consider the formation of the Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority (SRPRA).
If approved, the new transportation authority would have the power to formalize agreements, procure funding, and provide for a direct governmental body that can work with AMTRAK, PennDOT, the Federal Railroad Administration and other necessary partners. Proposed bylaws and articles of incorporation for the SRPRA are now posted on the county website at: www.montcopa.org/SRPRA for public review.
The commissioners welcome public comment on the proposed SRPRA by email at: [email protected]
The public can also provide comments in person at the SRPRA hearing scheduled for Wednesday, April 20 at 2 p.m. The hearing will be held in the Commissioners Board Room of One Montgomery Plaza, located at 425 Swede Street, 8th floor, Norristown, PA 19404.
The Board of Commissioners for Chester and Berks counties will also consider a resolution to establish the SRPRA during their respective meetings in April.
The SRPRA would replace the current Tri-County Passenger Rail Committee format and be supported with representation and funding from all three counties. The Tri-County Passenger Rail Committee is a nine-member group comprised of one county commissioner from each County and other local leaders. The committee, established in February 2021, spent the last year garnering support from potential partners and exploring the most direct and efficient manner to restore passenger rail service.
The Tri-County Passenger Rail Committee gave presentations to local municipal leaders in all three counties last fall and received a groundswell of support for this initiative.
The members of the committee are confident that passenger rail service serving municipalities including but not limited to Reading, Pottstown and Phoenixville could potentially generate more than $1 billion in new property development and spur existing property value increases, which translates to thousands of jobs and the expansion of local and federal tax bases over the next 30 years.
Further, passenger rail service would provide transportation and job opportunities to underserved minority communities and immediately impact some of the largest clusters of low and moderate-income households in the suburbs of Southeastern Pennsylvania.