A formal request has been made to Mayors Callahan, Panto, and Pawlowski to place on their respective councils’ agendas the idea of discussing their joint creation of a proper, legitmate public Agency to address the issue of returning inter-city rail srevice to the Lehigh Valley. Allentown’s, Easton’s, and Bethlehem’s councils and mayors have previously been given a Draft Resolution to consider, and have indicated willingness to consider it, but that it should be sent to them by their respective Administrations, as per usual protocol.
A Public Agency is required in order to qualify for assistance from PennDot(very limited), and especially the Federal TransitAdminstration(FTA). The FTA can provide not only financial aid but also technical assistance, research, and other valuable federal resourses such as the Federal Surplus Property & Materials Program.
The bottom line on what’s being asked of all three cities at this time is to exert their leadership in bringing together their respective councils and Mayors to jointly set about the process of creating the Lehigh Valley Agency to be known a “Suburban-Metro AreaRail Transit”, or SMART/LV Regional Rail. While Mayors Panto, Callahan, and Pawlowski, and many individual council members have all indicated support for this, all three councils will need to act together to legitimately create this public body and get this effort off dead center so this proposal can be properly and fairly evaluated, once and for all, for the good and benefit of the entire Lehigh Valley community.