Raup is trying to educate the Lehigh Valley that rail service is needed and affordable. He said a 2010 Lehigh Valley Planning Commission survey showed the number one concern of local residents is a lack of inter-city rail service.
Passenger rail service gradually vanished in the Lehigh Valley between the 1950s end early 1980s, according to Raup, who says most local residents have no idea what it’s like to take a train anywhere.
He said transporting 1,000 people requires at least 250 cars, about 40 buses or one five-car train.
He said rail service primarily would get people to and from work in New York and Philadelphia. He indicated it is becoming prohibitively expensive for commuters to drive to those cities and future gas prices probably will be higher than they are now.
He said trains alleviate traffic congestion and reduce wear and tear on highways and bridges. O’Connell said Routes 22 and 309 as well as Interstate 78 already are “a mess” -- and the Lehigh Valley is expected to grow by 145,000 more people in the next 20 years.
Raup said restoring passenger rail service would benefit LANTA, which would serve train stations with bus service, and Lehigh Valley International Airport, because people from larger metropolitan areas would take trains to fly out of LVIA.
He said passenger trains also would help keep seats filled in Allentown’s hockey arena and that tourists coming to the Lehigh Valley by train probably would stay more than just a couple of hours.
"I hate to see this die again," said Raup as he left City Hall.