It’s the easiest thing in the world to board an Amtrak train in Philly and be in New York barely an hour later. Would it be an even better process if Philadelphians could board that train in Center City?
Bob Previdi thinks so. A transit expert — and former spokesman for retired Council President Anna Verna — Previdi points out in an opinion piece for Philadelphia Business Journal there’s already a tunnel from 30th Street Station to Suburban and Market Street stations used by SEPTA. Just let a couple of Amtrak trains per hour use that tunnel, he says, and the results might be startling:
Having Amtrak operating in the Center City Tunnel would not only be good for business and tourism, it could also make the housing stock of Philadelphia and its suburbs more commutable to NYC. Most people in Philadelphia do not understand just how bad commuting distances are in in NYC and what opportunities there are to attract home buyers. For example, 14,000 cars a day park at the Long Island Rail Road’s Ronkonkoma Station in Suffolk County to take one hour and 20 minute train ride to/from Penn Station each way! Combine the long trek with a New York State tax rate of nearly 9 percent and even with the high monthly ticket fee of Amtrak we can still promote living in Pennsylvania as a real value.
Previdi adds: “The only issue now is can we get organized to take full advantage of what this tunnel can do for us. The rehabilitation of Dilworth Plaza can only help if we rally around what this project is intending to achieve, and that is making the heart of our city an attractive place to be.”