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Public Statements

Letter To The Honorable Ray Lahood, Secretary, Department Of Transportation

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) today sent a letter to Ray LaHood, Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, urging him to reconsider high-speed rail designations that would divide the Great Lakes Region into two separate, unconnected routes.

"Given the region's interest in being connected to the proposed high-speed passenger rail network, we would appreciate the benefit of your views as to whether the current designated high speed rail corridor map precludes Erie from competing for a role in the President's vision for high-speed rail," the members wrote.

The current map of high-speed rail corridor designations connect Cleveland to Kansas City and Minneapolis/St. Paul and also includes a line connecting Buffalo to major population centers on the east coast, but does not connect Cleveland to Buffalo. The issue was first brought to the members' attention by Erie County Councilmember Kyle Foust. Councilmember Foust expressed concerns that the lines as planned would create a gap in the corridor that could potentially isolate the Erie region from a future national high-speed passenger rail network.

Full text of the letter below.

Dear Secretary LaHood:

We write today to bring your attention to a suggestion made by Erie County Councilmember Kyle Foust regarding the designation of high-speed rail corridors. Councilmember Foust raises an important issue, and we would appreciate your consideration of his views.

As Councilmember Foust points out, the current map detailing designated high speed rail corridors across the country divides the Great Lakes region into two separate, unconnected routes. The map connects Cleveland to Kansas City and Minneapolis/St. Paul and also includes a line connecting Buffalo to major population centers on the east coast. Unfortunately, the map in its current form does not connect Cleveland to Buffalo. Councilmember Foust is concerned that this gap in the designated corridor map could potentially isolate the Erie region from a future national high-speed passenger rail network.

If that is the case, the network would fail to include a 190-mile section between two major population centers and may effectively cut off the Erie region from any opportunity to benefit from the Obama Administration's rightful commitment to establishing a national high speed passenger rail network.

Given the region's interest in being connected to the proposed high-speed passenger rail network, we would appreciate the benefit of your views as to whether the current designated high speed rail corridor map precludes Erie from competing for a role in the President's vision for high-speed rail. If your determination is that Erie would be precluded, we would respectfully request that you consider amending the map to include a connection between Cleveland and Buffalo, via Erie.

We applaud the President's leadership on this important issue and look forward to working with you on this and other matters of importance. Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.

Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator

Arlen Specter
United States Senator

Kathy Dahlkemper
Member of Congress


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