In fact, yesterday Sen. Specter and I broke ground on one of these projects – a $9.3 million dollar Recovery Act-funded renovation of the Elizabethtown Amtrak station. The turn-of-the-century rail station in Elizabethtown is a beautiful old stone structure, that after years of neglect needs critical facility upgrades to keep up with the growing rail commuter population. In the last five years alone, ridership at the Elizabethtown Amtrak station has grown 93 percent, but the station has lacked the money to build adequate parking or even functioning bathroom facilities.
Thanks to Recovery Act dollars, however, the Elizabethtown station is set to receive these long-overdue upgrades -- like additional parking, bathroom facilities, and a major platform expansion. And because Lobar, Inc., the prime contractor on the Elizabethtown project, won with a low bid 11 percent below initial estimates, PennDOT will be able to use the cost-savings on a greener method for surfacing the facility’s additional parking space.
Local rail patrons are fired up about the renovations that will make commuting and traveling the region easier, more comfortable and more convenient. One area resident, Franklin Shearer, even came to the groundbreaking just to share how thrilled he was about the station upgrades: “My wife and I travel 20,000 miles a year on Amtrak. All of our travel begins and ends right here. We compliment you for this project. Thank you for making it happen."
Senator Specter and I have seen first-hand that the Recovery Act is generating thousands of good jobs on projects like this in Pennsylvania, while upgrading and modernizing public transportation for the benefit of working people. Here, the Elizabethtown rail station will get a much-needed make-over so it can continue to meet the demands of travelers who depend on Amtrak. And at the same time, it will have a ripple effect on the local economy, starting with the 200 workers Lobar estimates will work on the project over its lifetime.
In Elizabethtown and around the country, the Recovery Act is working as intended: It’s putting people to work right now, while making critical investments in our national transportation system that will help grow our economy over the long-term.