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Save The Pennsylvanian

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Sunday, March 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Tom Fontaine's news story “Pennsylvania resists financial rescue for Amtrak's Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg run” (March 10 and outlining Western Pennsylvania's likely loss of Amtrak's Pennsylvanian train service demonstrates the compounded transportation limits that residents of this region face. Currently, we enjoy diminished airline choices, airfare increases, fuel-price and Pennsylvania Turnpike toll hikes, and now we stand to lose a valued travel choice to the east.

Amtrak offers an effective, affordable alternative to car, bus and airline transport when we are encouraged to lessen our dependence on vehicular travel. While it may be slower than the turnpike, Amtrak is convenient, a great work environment with Wi-Fi and food service, no tolls, no stops for gas fill-ups — plus, you arrive rested.

I use this train route routinely for business travel. With consistent airline delays and fare increases for travel to New York City and Philadelphia, Amtrak is preferred. If PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch cancels this route, we in Western Pennsylvania will be limited further in our business and lifestyle travel choices.

Instead of forcing a greater reliance on vehicles, why not fund Amtrak from Pittsburgh, promote its benefits and gain ridership? Let's challenge PennDOT for Western Pennsylvania rail support over limits forcing us back into our cars and onto already crowded roadways.

Robert Marschik Jr.




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