Tuesday, February 4, 2014

SEPTA Details $500M King of Prussia Rail Project

by Jared Shelly Digital Producer- Philadelphia Business Journal
SEPTA updated citizens today on its plans for the King of Prussia Rail project that could cost as much as $650 million. It plans to add stops to the Norristown high-speed line to serve a community now consumed by traffic.
At its public meeting at the Radisson Hotel at the Valley Forge Casino, Byron Comati director of strategic planning for SEPTA, laid out three possible routes for the new extension: a PECO utility corridor, along Route 202 and along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. (Check out the accompanying map to see all the route alternatives.)
"There is so much automobile traffic in that neck of the woods," said Comati, "and getting there from Center City Philadelphia and other points in region is challenging if you have to use the Schuylkill Expressway."
The total cost of the project is estimated to range from $500 million to $650 million and is still about eight years away from being completed, said Comati in an interview before the event. Plans call for half of the money to come from federal dollars while the other half should come from state or local sources, he said.
The project would add about three to four stops to the Norristown line to extend it into King of Prussia and Upper Merion Township. The new stops would most certainly include the King of Prussia Mall and are likely to include Valley Forge National Historical Park and the Valley Forge Casino Resort.
A SEPTA line that extends into King of Prussia is sure to be welcomed by the mall's 30,000 workers, many of whom spend long bus or car rides on the Schuylkill expressway to get to work.
"You are talking about a lot of delay, congestion and inefficacy for workers to get to jobs," said Comati.
In the last public meeting about a year and a half ago, citizens were concerned about the aesthetics of the new rail lines and wondered if they should be at ground level or elevated in the air.

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