The Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority (SRPRA) has taken the next big step toward restoring intercity passenger rail service between Reading and Philadelphia by applying for the Federal Railroad Administration’s Corridor Identification and Development Program (CIDP).
If accepted, SRPRA would receive federal funding for the next stages of planning for the potential return of passenger rail service after an absence of four decades.
The Corridor Identification and Development Program was established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is designed to facilitate the development of intercity passenger rail corridors across the country using a consistent approach. The SRPRA recognizes that acceptance into the FRA program is essential to its effort to restore passenger rail service in the region.
“This program presents funding for a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore passenger rail service from Reading and Philadelphia and beyond,” said Tom Frawley, interim executive director of the SRPRA.
If approved, the SRPRA would receive an initial $500,000 grant toward Step 1 of the CIDP initiative. The Authority would utilize those funds to work with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to develop a scope for the project and begin to prepare a service development plan that includes ridership and revenue forecasts, capital programming, operational analysis and more. The Authority would also be able to begin negotiations with Amtrak and Norfolk Southern about utilizing their existing track.
The FRA is expected to announce if the project is accepted sometime this coming summer.