Good news? Call me skeptical but I'll believe it when I see it:
believe it when I see it:
Plans move forward to revive Lackawanna Cutoff rail lineby Jim Lockwood/The Star-Ledger Wednesday June 04, 2008, 4:25 PMA long-awaited plan to restore passenger rail service between Hoboken and Scranton, Pa., via the dormant Lackawanna Cutoff in Warren, Sussex and Morris counties took a major step forward today.
The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority included in its transit plans a 7-mile stretch of the cutoff from Andover Township in Sussex County to Port Morris in Morris County. Officials said trains could be running on this segment of the cutoff within "a few years."
And NJTPA officials say this segment of the defunct rail line, estimated to cost $36.6 million to revive, is eligible for federal funding.
Restoring the dormant 28-mile Lackawanna Cutoff is a key to a $551 million plan to revive the 133-mile passenger rail line between Hoboken and Scranton. A revived line would ultimately link to New York Penn Station by connecting to existing NJ Transit's Montclair-Boonton and Morris & Essex trains.
Last year, a series of hearings were held in New Jersey and Pennsylvania on a draft environmental assessment of the rail plan that showed no major problems, but a cost estimate that had soared from $200 million more than a decade ago to $551 million in 2006. Â¶
There are no timetables for construction on the rest of the line, beyond the 7.3 miles identified today.
The goal of the plan is to create a mass transit commuting alternative in fast-growing northwest New Jersey and northeast Pennsylvania. Eight trains would run daily, with stations in Andover and Blairstown in New Jersey, and in Delaware Water Gap, East Stroudsburg, Analomink, Mount Pocono, Tobyhanna and Scranton in Pennsylvania.
Proponents of the long-sought rail plan see it as necessary to remove cars from congested Route 80 in New Jersey.
But opponents say it would only cause further sprawl and increase traffic in Sussex and Warren counties and the neighboring Poconos, and would not remove cars from Route 80. NJ Transit estimates that rails from Scranton to Andover would have 3,350 eastbound daily riders, with most of those boarding at six stations in Pennsylvania, 280 getting on in Blairstown and 150 in Andover.
The Lackawanna Cutoff was built a century ago and abandoned more than two decades ago.
If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.