Thompson announces $10 million grant for SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority

Oct 19, 2010

Titusville, PA – Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-Howard) announced this afternoon that he had received a call from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) informing him that the Susquehanna Economic Development Association Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) Joint Rail Authority has been awarded $10 million from the DOT, through a competitive TIGER II grant.

The funding will be used to provide critical infrastructure improvements throughout the region on rail and highway corridors in order to assist with the expanded capacity needs presented by the Marcellus Shale economic boom. The project will take place in six counties, including Lycoming. In August 2010, Thompson along with Representatives Carney, Shuster and Senators Casey and Specter wrote the DOT in support of the project.

The letter stated, “The Authority's railroads provide a transportation alternative for this industry that will result in the removal of an estimated 57,600 trucks by the end of 2011 from the region's and nation's highway system, reducing the impact on our deteriorating roads and bridges, while at the same time decreasing maintenance costs. This reduction in truck traffic will also increase the overall safety for drivers.”

“I am happy to learn that the DOT has looked favorably upon this project. Marcellus Shale has brought a new dawn of economic prosperity to the region and through partnerships between federal, state, and local agencies the area can be better prepared for this rapid growth” said Thompson.

Lycoming County Commissioner Jeff Wheeland, upon hearing the news said, “I’m thankful for Mr. Thompson’s continued advocacy on behalf of Marcellus Shale development in Lycoming County. Mr. Thompson truly understands what this project means to job creation in the region.”

The Authority has experienced significant growth in the utilization of its railroads, which is directly attributed to the burgeoning Marcellus Shale industry. To meet this demand, the Authority proposed, through its TIGER ll grant application, to add 9.9 miles of new track for five of the Authority's short-line railroads. The project also includes construction of a new two-lane road that will provide direct access from Interstate 1-80 to the Williamsport Regional Airport and be collocated on one of the Authority's new rail bridges.