HARRISBURG – State Senator Gene Yaw (R-23) applauded the decision yesterday by the State Transportation Commission (STC) to approve $1.8 million to the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority (JRA) for local rail projects that includes a portion of the 23rd Senate District.
The STC voted to approve funding for the JRA through the Rail Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP), which is a capital budget grant program funded with bonds.
“This important state investment will rehabilitate nine bridges on five short-line rail systems throughout our region to support 315,000-pound cars,” Yaw said. “I applaud the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority on receiving this important funding.”
Statewide, $33.4 million was awarded for 15 projects through the RTAP Program and 14 projects through the Rail Freight Assistance Program (RFAP). RFAP funding is underwritten through the new Multi-Modal Fund, created by Act 89, the recently passed Transportation Funding Plan.
“Pennsylvania has seen a rebirth in its rail industry,” Yaw said. “Our rail infrastructure is antiquated, but the passage of comprehensive transportation funding legislation will certainly enhance our short line railroads.”
The JRA was formed in 1983 with the core mission to preserve and promote rail service in central Pennsylvania. Shortly after the JRA was formed, the North Shore Railroad Company (NSHR), comprised of six short line railroads, with approximately 100 employees in an eight county region, was competitively selected to operate, market and maintain rail service on the system.
“Recently, I had the opportunity to travel along the NSHR system, and the amount of business development and continued business opportunities for the region was clearly evident,” said Yaw. “Rail service is a critical link for the state’s manufacturing sector and I am proud to represent an important piece of that invaluable transportation network.”