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28—The Daily Collegian Friday, Feb. 10, 1984
Is could lay track for Phily-to-Chicago ral system
By MIKE NETHERLAND
Collegian Staff Writer
Congressional approval for at least a feasi
bility, study of a five-state, Philadelphia to
Chicago high-speed passenger rail system
appears forthcoming in two bills being pre
pared in the House and Senate.
Both bills are being written by Pennsylva
nia congressmen and are receiving much
support from a high-speed rail lobbying group
whose members include the chairman and
executive director of the Pennsylvania's High
Speed Intercity Rail Passenger Commission.
_The commission is funding an extensive feasi
bility study of a high-speed Philadelphia to
The House bill, written by Rep. Joe Kolter,
D-Butler County, "has received extensive bi
partisan support," said Kolter aide Bill
O'Neil. The 41 co-sponsors include House
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan
Rostenkowski, D-111., and Minority Leader
Robert Michel, R-111.
A similar bill now is being drafted by Sen.
John Heinz, R-Pa.
O'Neil said that the Congressional approval
is also needed if the five-state compact
among Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and
Pennsylvania requests federal subsidies.
The sentiment in Washington about the
high-speed rail concept is mixed. The major
advocates are the three high-speed rail orga
nizations: Pennsylvania's commission, a lob
bying group called the High-Speed Rail
Association and the five-state compact.
However, Amtrak is cool to the idea. Am
trak was created by the Rail Passenger
Service Act in. 1970 to take up' the slack when
the private sector began exiting the unprofita-
The language of the Rail Passenger Service
Act may prove to be one of the major obsta
cles preventing or delaying the new rail
concept. The act effectively prevents rail
organizations other than Amtrak from oper
ating routes "over which (Amtrak) is per
forming scheduled intercity rail passenger
Tim Gillespie, a Capitol Hill liaison for
Amtrak said the language, "over any route
doesn't mean the same road bed. The route is
The market in rail terminology is the corri
dor between two cities. Amtrak now operates
passenger service between Philadelphia and
Pittsburgh and between Philadelphia and
Chicago. So Pennsylvania's commission and
the five-state compact simply cannot con
struct and operate a high speed or conventio
nal rail system and ignore Amtrak. Some
licensing and/or percentage-of-income ar
rangement with Amtrak would be necessary.
By ALICE RUDOLPH
Collegian Staff Writer
Modifications on 27 two-bed
room Alexander Court apart
ments, 309 E. Beaver Ave., are
about 90 percent complete, the
general manager of A.W. and Sons
Enterprise said yesterday.
• Daniel Kienle said that in some
of the two-bedroom apartments
workers are removing two-foot
partitions separating the kitchen
from the living room/dining room.
The work, which Kienle said
should be finished within five busi
ness days, is estimated at $5,000.
The removal of the wall, Kienle
said, "gives a more open, expan
sive atmosphere between the
kitchen and living room area."
In January, the general man
ager said he received a letter from
the Centre Region Code Adminis
trator stating that modification
plans submitted by A.W. & Sons,
the._ building's owners, had been
apprOved. The letter said all two
bedroom apartments would be ap
proved for occupancy of four to
five people when the changes were
Amtrak has such an arrangement with
American High-Speed Rail, a San Diego
based company preparing a passenger rail
line between that city and Los , Angeles.
Amtrak tried to license and get a percent
age of earnings last year from Colorado
Midland Railways, for the rights to operate a
passenger rail service in Wyoming. A
spokeswoman for Sen. Malcolm Wallop, R-
Wyo. ( who intervened on behalf of Colorado
Midland, said the $3,000 license fee was "ri
diculously high." She said that although Am
trak chose to discontinue service in Wyoming,
"they still had pretty much control over the
The high-speed rail proponents insist that
Amtrak is out of line in exacting these fees
that the language does not prohibit the opera
tion of routes outside those of Amtrak. Propo
nents contend that Amtrak is flouting a 1980
amendment to the act mandating that the
Secretary of Transportation not only encour
age private sector development of passenger
rail but to remove legal and institutional
barriers to the private sector.
So how can private high-speed rail remain?
Initially, the high-speed lobby maintained
that development would occur, outside the
state and federal government. But as cost
estimates fluctuate in the multi-billion dollar
range, the sentiment is changing.
A highly disputed study released last month
by Congress' Office of Technology Assess
ment (OTA) paints a gloomy financial picture
for high-speed rail. Because no U.S. high
speed rail system exists, the report investi
gated Japanese, French and British systems
all of which are federally owned. .
With new track and equipment, the report
says, "the new French high-speed line cost $4
million per mile," while the most recently
completed links of the Japane - se system "cost
about $35 million to s4o.million per mile. The
earliest Japanese routes cost about $2O mil
lion per mile (in 1979 dollars)."
Code Administrator James D.
Quigley yesterday said some of
the two-bedroom apartments will
meet the minimum requirement of
550 square feet of habitable space
required for five-person occupan
cy. The other two-bedroom apart
ments will be approved for four
people, he added.
Changes are also being made in
some of the bedrooms„ Quigley
said. A closet is being removed or
made smaller in some of the bed
rooms, he explained, so that the
room size is sufficient. In others,
to make bedroom size sufficient in
both bedrooms, a wall is being
moved to create more space.
Quigley said the work is being
done under a permit and that code
enforcement officials will inspect
the apartments when the work is
The changes are being made as
a result of a measurements taken
by code enforcement inspectors in
September which determined / that
some two-bedroom apartments
and some of the rooms in two
bedroom apartments were too
small for the number of people
living in the units.