All aboard! But to where? That's been the questions since AMTRAK released its 2035 vision.
Trips from the Lehigh Valley and the Poconos to the Big Apple are two of 39 proposed new routes being considered.
"It's like having multiple children that are passenger service, they each have their own attributes," said Jennie Louwerse, PennDOT's deputy secretary for multimodal transportation.
Louwerse was one of a host of advocates in Monroe County pushing for a Pocono line. It would run from NYC to Scranton with stops in between.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright led the pep rally-like event Tuesday, which also included an AMTRAK representative, who said they are looking at three daily trips from the Poconos to NYC.
"We think the ridership is there and we think the cost will be attractive to AMTRAK and the federal railroad administration," Cartwright said.
Through the recent federal infrastructure bill, $12 billion is available for new lines. Using ridership and cost studies, the new routes will be picked and money will be given through the Federal Railroad Administration.
"We've already reached out to AMTRAK because we want them on our property," said Larry Malski, head of the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority.
He says his organization owns the lines that a new Pocono route would use. It's a big advantage over the Lehigh Valley, which has a mix of different private companies owning railroads needed for the project.
"They are more interested in freight not passenger. We are interested in passenger," said Malski.
A decision as to which lines will be approved is expected within the next 18 months.