Harrisburg – The Economy, Business and Jobs (EBJ) Caucus, co-chaired by Senator Bob Mensch (R-24) and Senator Lisa Boscola (D-18), recently held a meeting and tour on Tuesday, May 14th which underlined the importance of rail in Pennsylvania’s economy.
Danielle Spila, Executive Assistant to Toby Fauver who is the Deputy Secretary for Local & Area Transportation for PennDOT, Sarah Gulick, Rail/Freight/Aviation Director for PennDOT, and William Goetz, Resident Vice President NYC-NJ-Philadelphia for CSX Transportation, all gave remarkable presentations on transportation and how rail affects our economic climate. In addition, they focused how rail creates investment and enables continued workforce development.
Senator Mensch and Senator Boscola were pleased to have representatives from both PennDOT and CSX for the meeting. William Goetz from CSX discussed their capital intensive industry and explored their siding merchandise network, carload-transload network, unit train network and intermodal service. CSX plays a significant role in our Commonwealth’s transportation infrastructure. They operate nearly 2,000 miles of track and maintain more than 1,100 public and private grade crossings in Pennsylvania. In 2011, they handled nearly 1.8 million carloads of freight in the Commonwealth and reported nearly $73 million in compensation for employees in Pennsylvania. Sarah Gulick and Danielle Spila from PennDOT discussed Rail Freight Assistance Program and the Rail Transportation Assistance Program which spurs job creation and assists in reducing the amount of wear on road infrastructure from trucks.
“Since the founding of our nation, Pennsylvania’s location has been vital when it comes to transportation infrastructure, as evidenced by our ‘Keystone State’ moniker. Rail is the cornerstone of that infrastructure vitality”, said Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton/Lehigh/Monroe). “Our rail system enables our manufacturers to get their products to market at an affordable cost, enabling them to provide family-sustaining jobs. I’m proud of the fact that Pennsylvania is a premier state for rail and I’m thankful that its importance was highlighted for us in detail.”
Following the meeting, a tour was held at Norfolk Southern’s Train Dispatching Room that afternoon by David Gooden, Division Superintendent/Transportation Department, Ryan Scacco, Assistant Superintendent Dispatch, and Rudy Husband, Resident Vice President–Pennsylvania & New England. Norfolk Southern operates approximately 20,000 route miles of track, serving every major container port in the eastern United States. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal and industrial products.
“Rail is an extremely important component to Pennsylvania’s economy, and it is often overlooked when looking at the general scope of transportation. Rail provides safe, reliable transportation of goods which translates into job creation and strengthening businesses. I’m glad we had the chance to learn more about the dynamics of rail and their positive effect on Pennsylvania’s economy,” said Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Northampton/Lehigh/Montgomery/Bucks).
Mensch and Boscola co-chair the caucus, which examines ways to break down barriers that hinder economic expansion in Pennsylvania. They said their goal is to unlock the state’s economic potential by gaining a better understanding of what shapes the state’s economic climate, encourages investment and enhances workforce development.
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