READING, Pa. - The head of the group Berks Alliance is urging the Reading City Council to get on board with plans to restore passenger rail service between Berks County and Philadelphia.
"It's going to have to be an intergovernmental type of approach, which then really leads to greater opportunity for economic development," said Councilwoman Marcia Goodman-Hinnershitz.
On Monday night, the council heard the latest proposal for the regional rail service, which would also enable passengers to continue on to places like New York, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Berks Alliance officials have said the project could bring up to $1 billion in revenue to the area. Council members said they hope it would open up more job opportunities.
"And that's the real key, that it will bring more jobs, businesses into Reading," Goodman-Hinnershitz said, "and I think that's the way we want to go. Transportation is key."
Officials said it would also help connect those living in the city to job prospects outside Berks County.
The plan isn't ready to be put into action just yet, however, Goodman-Hinnershitz said the group is on the right track.
"We have to have a starting point to be able to look at what further work needs to be done," she said.
Council President Jeff Waltman said the service would take the commitment and support of citizens, government leaders, the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance and Norfolk Southern, which owns the tracks needed for the project.
"It's our responsibility as the city to work with them and to partner with them," Waltman said.
"It's going to be a heavy lift, but I think we can do it," Goodman-Hinnershitz said. "I think if we don't, we really then keep Reading in what we call a transportation desert. We can't afford to do that."