Sen. Blake Applauds $ 675,000 Investment by State in PA Northeast Regional Rail

HARRISBURG, Feb. 25, 2014 – With freight rail service increasing in NEPA, state Sen. John Blake said today the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority will be better able to help businesses move goods due to a substantial investment by the State Transportation Commission.

The commission today announced its approval of a $674,800 investment from the state’s Rail Transportation Assistance Program.

“This support will help the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority add 7,700 linear feet of new rail and 8,000 ties, which will enhance regional capacity for rail-freight commerce,” Blake said.

“With the authority reporting a 6.5 percent increase in the number of carloads in 2013, this new infusion of state support promises to add to this growing segment of an otherwise struggling economy,” the senator said.

Blake said the volume of rail freight activity is a good historic barometer of how business is doing in a region, and said it is vital that we keep up with the demand and ensure reliable and safe rail infrastructure to serve local business.

“Add to that the authority’s announcement last month that more companies are looking to locate business along the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad, this is a great time to be providing the PNRRA with this significant rail transportation investment,” Sen. Blake said.

The authority’s award was one of 32 across Pennsylvania totaling $34.7 million.


Blake, Carroll Welcome PA’s $2.6M Investment in WB/Scranton International

HARRISBURG, Dec. 13, 2013 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna) and Rep. Mike Carroll (D-Luzerne) voiced their approval today of a $2.6 million investment in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport by the Pennsylvania Transportation Commission.

The money will help the vital transportation hub tear down the airport’s old terminal building complex and build a commercial aircraft hangar.

“This important state investment will keep the airport competitive and it will modernize facilities to meet the needs and demands of a 21st century traveling public,” Blake said.

“An investment in our region’s airport infrastructure is an investment in our present and future economic vitality,” Carroll said.

The new support comes on the heels of PennDOT’s decision in July to move forward on a $42 million highway safety project that will link the Grimes Industrial Park with the airport, add longer on- and off-ramps on Exit 178 of I-81, and include three roundabouts for more efficient traffic flow.

Rep. Carroll said the two projects will work well together.

“This development at our airport, combined with the nearby airport connector highway project, significantly enhances safe and efficient travel,” the Hughestown Democrat said.

Sen. Blake, an Archbald Democrat, agreed.

“It is a very important investment at the airport, and timely in the wake of the start of the $42 million I-81 interchange upgrade,” Blake said. “I am very encouraged to see this funding commitment by the transportation commission.”

The 47-year-old terminal building complex closed seven years ago. Airport officials say that site will be converted to park airplanes once it is demolished.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International is a full-service airport that is operated jointly by Lackawanna and Luzerne counties. The Joseph M. McDade Terminal, which has been open since May 2006, is about 70 percent larger than the older facility and was built at a cost of $41 million.