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Philadelphia - November 2009

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Philadelphia – River Rail Alignment Officially Selected

Rail Transit Online, November 2009

As expected, the Delaware River Port Authority has chosen a route on Market Street and the Delaware River waterfront for a new $500-million light rail project. The latter portion would run in the median of Columbus Boulevard from Pier 70 north to Girard Avenue, linking two planned casinos.

A yet-to-be-defined connection would be needed to a new surface line along Market Street to City Hall where passengers could make connections with existing SEPTA rail routes.

The announcement was made on Oct. 26 with the full endorsement of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and local members of Congress; environmental studies and preliminary engineering can now begin.

In addition to the casinos, major tourist, entertainment, transportation, residential and employment centers would be served including Independence Mall, the Market East Regional Rail Station, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Reading Terminal Market, Penn's Landing and the 8th and Market subway station. "There is no better place than Market Street for a light rail line," said Mayor Nutter. "This is a decision that will pay dividends 15, 20, 30 years from now."

However, it's still not clear whether SEPTA or Port Authority transit subsidiary PATCO would operate the trains. Federal funding will be sought for the project, which could be completed in 2016 if money is forthcoming promptly.


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