Saturday, October 3, 2009

Brownsville climbs aboard railroad plan - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Brownsville climbs aboard railroad plan - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Brownsville Borough may have boarded a train to nowhere.
Heeding the call of a veteran railroad conductor, borough council this week agreed to sponsor a high-speed railroad corridor that would connect Pittsburgh to Columbus, Ohio, at a cost of $18 million in federal stimulus money.
The Fayette County borough, however, would not be part of the corridor route.
Council unanimously approved a 17-page document that was submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation late Tuesday evening, just in time to meet a midnight deadline for funding under the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, or TIGER.
The planning document envisions Brownsville housing a "library" for information about high-speed railroads nationwide, according to its author, Robert Terry of Waynesburg. A train conductor with 38 years' railroad experience, Terry called the library a "storage shed" of records for all high-speed rail projects in the nation, all stored electronically.
Borough officials admit that landing the $18 million grant is a shot in the dark, but Terry had a vision and needed a governmental body — either state or local — to sponsor the plan. And there was no cost to apply.
He looked to Brownsville.
"It was a personal feeling," he said. Brownsville needs jobs, he said, and the goal of the stimulus package is to create jobs.
"I'm excited we have this opportunity to sponsor the plan," said Councilman Jack Lawver. "Rather than a negative, we hope it's a positive."
Brownsville rode a wave of prosperity in the era of coal and coke in Fayette County. It was once a robust railroad town, Lawver said, with as many as 100 railroad jobs. That was before the Monongahela Railroad was folded into Conrail in the early 1980s and the jobs went elsewhere. The town's steep decline began in the 1960s. Today, most downtown businesses are boarded up.
Several plans have been hatched for Brownsville's revival, then scuttled, including riverboat gambling on the Monongahela River and a training center for cyclists in the downtown area.
Lawver said council was aware the proposed rail corridor would not come near Brownsville. But "maybe someday we could have a spur here, a line that would connect us to the main line."
Councilman James Lawver, Jack's brother, said the high-speed rail plan "sounds like a good shot in the arm" for the community.
Terry said he thought the library idea would be key to attracting the attention of federal transportation officials, as nothing like it exists. He said the library would create as many as 25 jobs over three years, including technical positions, such as software engineers and "information specialists."
California University of Pennsylvania also applied for a TIGER grant. The school has proposed a $229 million magnetic levitation system to connect its downtown campus with apartment buildings and college recreational facilities two miles away.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dust Off the Mills, Fire Up the Boilers, Mobilize the Workforce…the Jobs are Coming Home!!

Since the final hours of our region’s (Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania) industrial heyday some 25+ years ago, watched a steady stream of jobs slip overseas. More often than not, it has seemed as if we are helpless against the economics of globalization. Cheap labor in developing nations like China has been fed by the removal of international trade tariffs producing an explosion of industrial growth for those nations. Previously, the tariffs imposed on foreign importers (or, domestic companies manufacturing in foreign lands shipping to the U.S.) have held the disparity of labor costs as inconsequential.

But, there’s a far more power which has fed the expansion of our trade deficit…’cheap oil’. Until the recent run up of oil prices (more than 500% since 2002), we’ve experienced a great expansion of ‘wealth’ on the backs of cheap oil. While the perceived wealth of our nation has expanded along with this trend, it has been accompanied by the removal of the foundation our economy is built upon. We’ve steadily transformed our nation into a service based, Wall St. driven nation whereby we utilized the sweat, labor and skill of other nations to build the ‘American Way’.

Logic tells us the current flow of our industrial economies is unsustainable. The simple fact that we’re often shipping raw materials around the world, manufacturing them, then shipping them back around the world to be consumed (and, often shipped back at their end life) is illogical to the untainted eye (likely one of those questions where 99% of kindergarteners would answer correctly against the 1% of adults). Many factors have held their ground for the past few decades which have made this model ‘work’ financially. Oil has held at around $20/barrel, tariffs have steadily been removed, newly tapped labor came cheaply and environmental regulations were imposed on developed countries (but not in developing countries).

So why should we dust off our mills which have slowed to a snail’s pace and often laid dormant for many years? Logic is taking hold and the many factors which have ‘globalized’ our economy are about to reverse course.

Oil - We’ve caught a few glimpses of this in the past year where triple-digit oil prices brought our economy to a halt (despite the focus on sub-prime lending, oil is the driver in our recession but that’s another discussion). We’ve felt some brief reprieve on oil prices however they remain well above the rates which fueled the trade deficit. And, we are naïve to believe oil will not return to last year’s levels and higher in the coming years. Suddenly, shipping materials around the world for low value:weight products (i.e. steel) doesn’t make financial sense…logic takes hold.
Labor - Meanwhile, the labor disparity is closing quickly. Wage gaps between the developed and developing world remain however they’re nowhere near the rates which took so many jobs overseas.
Global Environmental Concerns - Additionally, the combination of increased environmental awareness on a global scale (global warming via greenhouse gases has no borders) is forcing the developed world to consider means of putting a price on CO2 emissions. The U.S. is likely to join the EU in hosting a ‘cap and trade’ program which will reward those who determine means of producing in more efficient (carbon output wise) manners, and punish those who don’t. Yes, this by itself would only push the ball further into the developing world (where they don’t have environmental costs imposed on their products) however the U.S. (as the EU is currently considering) should also consider a carbon tariff on imported goods. Since the U.S. is more than 50% more efficient than countries like China, this would flip the jobs back to the U.S. in an immediate fashion. Many would oppose the addition of trade tariffs as unfair practices however the omission of a carbon tariff in theory is the unfair practice imposed on our own labor force (further, without it would only shift CO2 emissions to other lands which would end up in the same sky although via less efficient processes thus greater output).

Pull these factors together and we’ll end up with far more of barrier than the tariffs of a decade ago which blocked imports. Oil prices will rise again, labor gaps will continue to close and global environmental concerns will peak in the coming years. Are we ready to mobilize our industry? Is our region ready to take the lead again, and inspire our nation’s next great movement?

Our belief is that our tri-state region (Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania) needs to grease up our old factories and (re)train our blue-collar workforce for the next phase of development. A new economy where globalization comes via technology but industry is held at home. Developing a high-speed rail system is a necessary step towards our nation’s infrastructure. Using our region’s assets to produce its supplies and host its early lines is a necessary step towards securing our nation’s economy for generations to come.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

POWV: A Multi-state Multi-jurisdiction Partnership

In a recent film about this part of country’s economic problems one speaker was quoted as saying that it’s about time the rest of country caught up to our slump. As is well documented this area’s economic problems are directly attributed to the collapse our steel industry. A case where cheaper imports, outdated technologies, and environmental issues have been said to cause dozens of our area’s highest volume plants to shut down. But one other major factor that has not been raised since it we raised our battle over it in the 1980’s was the removal of the area’s major rail corridor. That removal occurred when federal legislation gave Conrail an open window to abandon rail lines in order to take bankrupt carriers off the federal dole. One doesn’t need extensive study to verify how that removal helped to contribute to the area’s economic ruin. Just the example of what happened in the city of Weirton WV illustrates the point all too clearly.

National Steel owned some six steel plants in the country in the 1980’s. Within months after Conrail started the degrading process for the abandonment of its Mainline Pittsburgh to St. Louis, National Steel chose to shut the doors on its Weirton Steel plant. That resulted in a mixed set of owners and partners that today leave the plant and the city in a shell of what it once was. While that was going on back then we, as offshoot of our of railroad union’s committee, organized a community based organization called POW V. We saw firsthand what was occurring and tried to prevent the dismantling of our railroad infrastructure. The most striking accomplishment we made was our application to Conrail for high-speed trains over the Mainline Pittsburgh to St. Louis that they slated to degrade and then abandon. Under the federal statues we used for our application the degrading was slowed to the point that almost all the corridor still has some rail traffic over it.

On February 17, 2009, when the President of the United States signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to, among other purposes, (1) preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery, (2) invest in transportation infrastructure that will provide long term economic benefits, and (3) assist those most affected by the current economic downturn, we collectively released a long overdo sigh of joyous relief. Because we had been asking for such a mechanism for some time in order to have what happened here be known and how we think we could make it better. That’s why we have organized a multi-State and multi-jurisdictional partnership. That’s why we are applying as such for a TIGER Discretionary Grants (‘‘Grant Funds’’). We believe that when all the facts are in and there is a transparent viewing of that data that our POW V Corridor will be seen to have the needed significant impact that’s being asked for on the Nation, our metropolitan areas, and our region.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Words as a form of Action

It is often said "Actions speak louder than words". But, what if those words serve as the action? Can words serve as the primary source of bringing solutions to life? This question was never more a reality than the past year’s presidential elections as President Obama circled the nation amidst the ‘rock star-esque’ crowds to his “words”. Many of his doubters and opponents attacked him, urging the people not to be blinded by his polished speeches of hope and promise. They often agreed he was a powerful presenter, however they claimed they were ‘only words’ and lacked tangible action. To this day, many criticize his resume for a lack of results against the backdrop of his rich, bold promises of a better tomorrow. Which brings us back to the question, “can words be a form of action?”. Are the words Pres. Obama has made a part of history serve as the building blocks of progress? Close to home, are the words of POWV shaping the policy of tomorrow's transportation infrastracture?

Visionary movements are born out of the seeds of ingenuity of individuals. They feed of the hope and dreams of the founding few. They spread to reality via the persistence of those willing to defy the odds and deafen the naysayers. A bit naïve, the movement moves forward, nimbly morphing as necessary while maintaining the core vision. With small wins along the way, people start to take notice and the early adopters jump on board. All the while, there’s a pack of people who’ve heard the message yet it sits dormant in their brain’s corner. Then, with an exhilarating transformation, the movement reaches a key hurdle and the pace moves into overdrive. At the crest of this energy, the force takes on a new life. Those who casually joined early on, deepen their roots and dedicate their being to the cause. The words once locked away emerge into the conversations of the majority, and key players emerge to see it forward. Yet, to this point, it is often only “words” which brought us to this point. Many great ideas fail to reach this stage simply because they couldn’t get the message across. At times, it was a lack of persistence, poor choice of recipients, and/or the lack of charisma, credibility and trust from the presenter.

It is my belief; POWV High Speed Rail now sits within the early adoption stage however the foundation is starting to rumble with encouraging signs of progress towards the next steps. Repeatedly, we’ve seen our requests take hold and the policy continues to shift towards our cause. And, now those around us are starting to take notice with a bit more than the original blank stares…the “words” are creeping form the back of their brains, as they consider their part in this historic movement. But to this point, it has been ‘just words’ brought to the attention of whoever will listen via a consistent, persistent message. Now putting words into action, we at POWV continue with a purpose to bring high speed rail to the Pittsburgh-Columbus corridor…any successful national high-speed rail plans will have to include this corridor. It has served as a primary component of all major transportation developments throughout our country’s history via the Ohio River, the original rail system and I-70 as part of the interstate highway system…we are now on the cusp of including it within our country’s interstate high-speed rail system, and we’re playing a critical role in sharing the message across the 3 involved states (Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia) and beyond.

Please join our movement and become one of our early adopters, mark your place in history…it’s happening before our eyes and the pieces are about to pick up steam…

POWV High Speed Rail Mgmt

Saturday, May 9, 2009

"Who knows? We can dream."

POW V continues to talk, people continue to listen, now it seems some are beginning to take notice, and take action...

Stimulus Money To Improve Rails In Jefferson County
Posted: 5:37 pm EDT April 14, 2009Updated: 7:04 pm EDT April 14, 2009

Ohio Transportation Stimulus funds will be used to improve the Gould Tunnel outside Mingo Junction in Jefferson County.

Mike Paprocki with The Brooke Hancock Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission said, "It's an important link from the rail yard. It connects Norfolk Southern Railroad and Ohio Central Railroad. That services a lot of coal mines and trains that go to the Apex mine."
The $5 million in stimulus will be used to improve the tunnel because it leaks and has drainage problems.

"This ought to put about 40 people to work," said Paprocki. "It's a big help to the railroads in our area. They're making resurgence." The exact solution isn't clear yet because Paprocki said there are several different options state crews could take. "They could lower the bed and raise the clearance because it has clearance issues. The tunnel will not take double-stacked cars. Or, they could line it and keep it as is," said Paprocki.

With improvements on the way, leaders have high hopes for the future including the possibility that one day the tracks could carry passenger trains. "This could be used as a critical link between Pittsburgh and Columbus for high-speed rail through our area," said Paprocki. "Who knows? We can dream."

There is no timeline in place as to when work on the Gould Tunnel could start.
Officials with the Ohio Railroad development Commission said improvements will be on the existing structure. Jefferson County isn't the only area that will get rail improvements.
More than $1 million in stimulus funds is expected for rail work in Harrison County at Miller Station.

Copyright 2009 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

All Aboard...

All Aboard…

The trainmaster calls out “All Aboard” and the people shuffle themselves and their belongings towards the gate like a content herd of cattle. After boarding the train at the King Street Station (Seattle), we find ourselves gliding along smooth tracks to Portland. The leather seats are inviting and apparently (if the gal snoring across from us is any indicator) comfortable enough for the 4 hour ride aboard Amtrak’s Cascader (wouldn’t an under 2 hour high speed line we wonderful?). After pulling through the industrial landscape from Seattle to Tacoma, the rail line takes a scenic burst along the Puget Sound. The clouds clear, the mountains appear and I begin to wonder what the phrase “All Aboard” means for our nation. Are we all on board? Has the POW V corridor been left behind?

For the past 25 years, our country has experienced great strides in ‘so-called’ economic expansion. Despite the recent recessions, our GDP and other economic indicators illustrate a nation living the good life. However, as we ‘peel the onion back’, we realize not everyone is ‘All Aboard’. Despite the harsh warning signs of the prior generation, we continued to build an economy driven by the oil of other nations and (increasingly) the muscle of other nation’s labor. With cheap oil/gas in our nation’s engine, we plowed forward building corporate profits by selling the goods ‘Made in China’. In turn, we now face immensely divided economic classes, a fragile economy (one spike in oil prices away from collapse) and an environment in peril. On both sides of the political aisle, we’ve built policy on the ‘sink or swim’ ideas. These flawed concepts have left the communities which once built our nation’s infrastructure as people/regions which ‘couldn’t make it’. Our heartland became more of a liability as we moved into the global ‘free-market’ economies. Areas throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia became second-thought on the political landscape as the unemployment rose, the ‘strong’ escaped, and the proud people suffered.

Economic booms and busts come in cycles, and there’s always going to be areas/people which benefit more/less from those movements. Our region has always played a key role in providing the foundation for our nation’s prosperity. We built (and served as the primary corridors of) the transportation lines of the 1800’s (original rail lines) and the 1900’s (interstate highways). We furnished the coal to burn and the steel to build the bones of a country. For the most part, we missed the call to transform our economy into the Information-Age and continued to grasp onto the jobs (which put food on our tables for the generations) like a fading dream. But, the next ‘age’ is upon us and has our names (all of our names) written all over it. The ‘green economy’ is plowing ahead with an agenda which will transform the jobs of the industrial age into those which will provide the same benefits (and more) but in a more responsible manner. This is why it’s so important we embrace a concept of ‘All Aboard’ rather than outsource the next cycle of development. The new leaders must boldly step forward and provide a platform for the U.S. to take a front role in this inevitable movement. We must innovate in ways which not only provide profits for the corporation’s short-term agendas but capture our communities’ welfare for generations to come. If not, not only will the poor and middle-class suffer, those at the top of the pyramid will continue to prosper on false realities.

Currently, we’re ‘only’ one voice in this movement however POW V High Speed Rail holds this concept as a driving principle. We believe without all of our neighbors “All Aboard”, any short-term gains will be fragile for all. We’re not advocates of hand-outs nor are the people of our region. We don’t need the flashy bling of Hollywood, the pressed suits of Wall St, but rather we want to build something. We want to be at ground zero of a strong and vibrant nation. You see, instead of needing our names in lights, we put our names on lunch pails. We’re people who want to provide for others and provide for our families in return, and hope it extends to our grandchildren. POW V believes bringing high speed rail to this region will facilitate our involvement in the ‘green economy’ and fuel the fires of innovation towards jobs within our borders.

All Aboard?!?

Place your name on the POW V lunch pail by joining our team at

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Community Action & High Speed Rail

The recent presidential election brought the concept of "Community Action Groups" to the forefront of driving democracy and providing solutions for the next generation. Although some ignorantly ridiculed the leadership and stature of a community organizer, the American people have awoken to the call to get involved and to take responsibility for the direction of our nation and the communities which comprise it. This is not a new concept however one which has been buried amongst the belief that government and corporations are the primary avenue to provide the infrastructure we depend on. But, there's a noticeable change in the air. One which has the youth ready to dedicate their time and energy to make things happen. And, while the shifting tides resides within the younger generation, it is carrying to all generations as contagious inspiration.

So, what does this mean for high speed rail? After all, trains are the product of large amounts of capital and resources requiring engineering expertise and government approval. Please welcome POWV High Speed Rail. In the mid-80's, POWV was born via the desire of a group of railroaders who fought for what they felt was right for their community and the nation their line was supporting. Other local parties joined the cause and together they found an avenue to protect the Panhandle line from removal. Although the plot details play out like a riveting novel, the basic story of this line being saved revolves around the group pledging to bring high speed rail to the line. Although there were hopes of actually bringing high speed rail to the tri-state (Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia) region, the primary intent of the pledge was capitalizing on the right of way's protection if such a pledge was made. Although they weren't able to save the freight running over these tracks, they had displayed an act of courage and won the battle. The following 20 years weren't so favorable for the region as they saw countless jobs shipped overseas and the people who served as the backbone of our nation's infrastructure soon felt the pain, and still do to this day.

Fast forward to today, POWV High Speed Rail is reemerging and embracing its position as a well-purposed community action group. An organization moving with direction to provide solutions for the people, and our collective nation. POWV is moving with a passionate pace to bring place the POWV Corridor into the current discussions for high speed rail. Anyone viewing the current FRA HSR Corridor Map can see the obvious disconnect in the proposed network. POWV's current mandate is to ensure those in the decision making positions see it, understand it, and connect it. Amidst the HSR discussions taking place across the country, POWV sees the monumental challenges in front of it. The other proposals come via State Transit Authorities, Multi-national corporations, and other large scale entities which are expected to be here and have the resources to move decisions. While this is reality, POWV has pledged to do what they feel is right for the broader community and are gaining steam with each person they bring on board. It will be, and has been, a trial by fire approach which is building momentum (along with setbacks) forward. It involves the courage of the people behind it who know what hard work is all about.

It's been nearly 25 years in the making however the time has come for POWV vision to come to fruition. Their intentions revolve around building the next generation economy for a region sitting at the heart of our nation. Their embracing their role as a community action group and energized by the resurgence of community involvement witnessed in recent times. It's time to make Ohio high speed rail, West Virginia high speed rail, and Pennsylvania high speed rail all a reality on a connected network via the POWV Corridor. It's time to put the people back in democracy, and drive a nation forward.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

High Speed Rail Gets $8bn: Obama's Signature Issue in Stimulus Bill

In the final hours of the stimulus bill's negotiations, high-speed rail more than tripled its prior renditions to end up at $8 billion. Critics of the bill tried to cast blame of Sen. majority leader Reid 'earmarking' $8bn in high speed rail funds for a line from LA to Vegas however the real driver seems to have come from the White House. While a few of Obama's 'favorites' were battered through the negotiations (school building, electricity grid upgrade), the high-speed rail push seems to have faced limited opposition, and little knowledge it was coming from Obama. Some of the lessened resistance to the HSR funding seems to come from the vocal opposition (ME and PA Republicans strongly opposed other items in the bill) since their Northeast constituents will likely benefit the most from HSR development.

So, $8bn is a lot of money, right? In U.S. relative terms, yes, this far surpasses any previous investment in HSR. However, it is only the beginning of what will be needed to build a comprehensive HSR network. And, apparently there is more on the way, whereby Obama (per Politico's interview with administration officials) is prepared to add $1bn each of the next 5 years within his initial 2010 budget outline.

What's next? Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is given 60 days to come up with a strategic plan for the funds. The combination of large capital upfront — followed by annual appropriations — fits the prototype for the infrastructure bank once considered for, but never included in, the recovery bill.

Then what? Simply throwing a large chunk of money at HSR is not going to make it successful. It is going to take prudent deployment of these funds but more importantly it is going to take a combination of private investments, human ingenuity and U.S. labor to bring Obama's vision to reality. Some call HSR a pipe dream and mock it as an investment into fairy tale programs to nowhere however these were dreams we let fail more than 25 years ago. Dreams which fell along with the middle-class of our nation and the blue-collar workforce. Dreams are what defined this country's leadership throughout the world and thinking beyond the status quo is what will propel us into the 21st century as a leader the world can respect and join.

Let's get to work, and make good on Obama's Signature Issue of this Stimulus Package! Join POW V High Speed Rail in connecting the corridors and redefine the dreams of PA, OH and WV and the nation they've built before.

Some of the information from this post is sourced from David Rogers' article for Politico.


POW V Management

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stimulus Package and Mass Transit

Today, the Senate passed their version of the stimulus bill. Since the same legislation must be approved by both Houses of Congress, we now await Conference Committee to hammer through the differences between the Senate and House versions. Then, the two houses will have to vote and approve the same bill prior to President Obama's final signature.

The Transport Politic prepared the below comparison chart which details the two house's versions which is reconstructed below. For more discussion, go to Transit in the Stimulus Package.

Within the mass transit aggregate, there are some 'winners' and 'losers' in the two version. For high speed rail, it appears the Senate version will provide a more friendly environment for the surging high speed rail discussions. Although only a fraction of the total stimulus package (mass transit will not get much more than 1% of the total spend), $2bn for high speed rail could throw 'fuel to the fire' in promoting high speed rail investments around the country. Pending the final package, there appears to also be some 'wiggle room' for the states to determine the allocation of the transportation spending between building roads and building public transit. This could go a long way in stabilizing state/local projects which might otherwise be compromised in the face of tight budgets during a recession. To let these projects fail and not bring forth even bolder strategies for mass transit will be a failure in many aspects. Failures we might not realize until we hit the next economic crisis, oil shortage, national security breach or all of the above. We must invest now in the next generation of moving people. This is no George Jetson transportation system, this is a real solution which is being successfully utilized throughout the world. It is widely discussed how Germany, France and Japan have used high speed rail for decades however we're now seeing countries like Sweden move ahead and Turkey is scheduled to open a high speed rail line in March.

Join our movement in bringing high speed rail to America!

Email us at or visit our website at to become a member of our growing movement...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

What is the POW V Corridor?

The POW V corridor is a railroad 'right of way' which spans from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Columbus, OH. POW V High Speed Rail was born ~25 years ago when a group of railroaders and regional leaders gathered to save the 'Panhandle Right of Way' via a motion to bring high-speed rail to the line. Under the terms of the provided 'right of way', if there was intent to bring high-speed rail to the line, the line could not be removed. This, in turn, blocked the railroad's intentions back in the 1980's. If we fast-forward to 2008, the original POW V team realized the climate was ripe to resurface the idea. While high-speed rail should have been implemented 25 years ago in the United States, we are now presented with the obvious need for its development.

Ok, now that you have the basic story of how the POW V Corridor came to be, where does this route actually take us? As mentioned the route begins from the East in Pittsburgh, PA and heads westward. The route heads due west towards the West Virginia northern panhandle passing through Weirton, WV. Crossing the Ohio River from Weirton, this line then passes into Ohio thru Steubenville, OH. From there, the line continues westward although dropping a bit to the south towards Columbus. Along its pathway in Ohio, the POW V line touches the cities of Uhrichsville, New Comerstown, Coshocton and Newark (then Columbus).

Let's assume you agree we need high-speed rail from Pittsburgh to Columbus. You might then ask, why this route? To fully understand this route's significance, we need to understand the history of this line. This line attained and is still often referenced as the 'Pan Handle Railroad' because of its passage across the northern pan handle of West Virginia. In the 1850's, multiple railroad companies connected this route. From its origination to the 1970's, this line served as a primary route in building the infrastructure of our nation. For the industrial revolution, it connected the Eastern seaboard with the Midwestern cities like St. Louis. As it still does today, the location of this line made it's service a necessity of a growing nation. To read more details on the railroads which originally brought the Pan Handle Railroad, see Pan Handle Route.

High-speed rail makes sense. It makes sense now in America and it makes sense to start it within a route and region which brought us our first industrial revolution. To join our movement, go to or email us directly at to learn more about our growing team!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

POW V among 80 U.S. High-Speed Rail Respondents

Earlier this week, the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee announced they've received 80 responses to the Federal Railroad Administration’s request for expressions of interest to develop high-speed rail corridors. Although still without full recognition as a defined high-speed rail corridor, POW V is sitting amongst the 'big guys' on this list which includes: transportation finance companies; transportation consultants; architectural, engineering and construction firms; rail service providers; major international conglomerates; train manufacturers; and state departments of transportation. However, we're the only group proposing the strategic Pittsburgh to Columbus 'right of way' which we secured some 25 years ago.

Now that we're 'on the list' how do we get 'on the map'? What's next? POW V is now moving into the next phase of its action plan: building awareness in the communities along the line and attaining support from key legislators/leaders for this transformational development. The more people hear our proposal, the more strength our movements gains. Although bold and monumental in its intentions, relying on this tri-state region to develop the next generation of transportation and infrastructure is not a new story. There are many reasons this tri-state region served as the focal point for our country's transportation needs including the original rail lines of the 19th century, the river boats/barge system connecting to the Mississippi (and beyond), and the original Interstate Highway system including I-70 (and it's predecessors). We'll break the primary reasons this region has led the transportation developments throughout American history into groups: location, natural resources and people.

Location: the PA/OH/WV tri-state region has and is the most central location amongst our nation's population and business. The region sits about 400 miles from NYC (#1 U.S. pop) and Chicago (#3 U.S. pop), less than 300 to DC and Philadelphia (#5 U.S. pop), within 700 miles of the southern hub of Atlanta and within a days drive to many other key cities on the East of the Mississippi. And, it is within a stone's throw from our northern border with Canada.

Natural Resources: there are several resources in abundance within this region which have each served industry and development to this day. First, the vast amounts of water flowing through the Ohio River fed the movement westward and facilitated usage of the other resources of the region including coal and iron which helped drive the steel, aluminum and other industries.

People: the people side of this is likely a derivative of the former two factors whereby the region's service as the original 'gateway to the west' left many cities and people along the way and the rise of the steel and other industries attracted a plethora of foreigners to work in the rise of the blue-collar jobs. The blue-collar workforce continued to grow in the region until the late-70's when mills and plants started to close. The 'dumping' of cheap foreign steel, rise in U.S. labor costs and the inability to 'reinvent' the blue-collar industries all played a role in the decline of this region's economy and its people.

This is where POW V comes into play. Tapping into these primary resources, we (inclusive of all people within the region) plan to 'reinvent' and reestablish this region as the backbone for transportation and infrastructure. High-speed rail is already very successful in other parts of the world and now is the time for America to wake up. Now is the time for the PA, OH, WV tri-state region to step up and puts its resources, ingenuity and muscle at the base of this movement and carry a nation into another generation. Call it a green-collar economy if you want however the people of this region only know it as a way of life. A way of life which puts food on their tables and leaves them with a sense of pride for their part in building a better world.

The time for high-speed rail in the U.S. is now and the political, environmental, and economical environments are all pointed in favor. The notion of bringing high-speed rail to the U.S. without inclusion of the strategic stretch of Pittsburgh-Columbus is fundamentally broken. Join our movement to bring jobs and pride back to this region and you'll be a part of building a stronger union for all. Go to to learn more or contact us at

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

POW V Submits its Letter of Intent to FRA for High-Speed Rail

Response to: FRA–2008–0140

POW V High Speed Rail has submitted it's official letter of intent for consideration of high speed rail to be added on the POW V corridor (Pittsburgh to Columbus). The registry along with other responses of the FRA's request can be viewed via the above link while POW V's objective can be read below:

The POW V Corridor is a sensible inclusion in any future plans to create a national high-speed rail system. The POW V Corridor in its historic positioning is a functional centerpiece in a national system. Anyone who looks at the map of the current and proposed corridors will see that is obvious. The POW V Corridor not only connects otherwise disjointed pieces but it sits atop a roadbed that has traditionally created such infrastructures. Railroads are built on the iron shipped from Ohio, the coal dug in West Virginia, and the steel forged in Pennsylvania. If we are investing in an American future we need to create that vision with the resources we have. The POW V Corridor has those material resources and it has the labor resources that have done the heavy lifting for such ventures in our history. If we are to earn our way back as an industrial nation we need to utilize resources such as these to base our product of recovery on. That takes believing in our abilities and trusting in our willingness to perform. The POW V Corridor is where that could happen and that’s why we are including the POW V Corridor in this request for proposals at this time.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

POW V Corridor is the Missing Link

Above is a map of the current corridors being funded for high-speed rail proposals. The POW V corridor we propose connects the Keystone and Chicago Hub Network. It is an obvious "missing link" in this national infrastructure which will link the eastern seaboard to the Midwest. It is over a right-of-way that extends from Pittsburgh PA to Columbus OH. Before it was degraded in the 1980’s it was called the Panhandle Mainline because runs across West Virginia’s panhandle. At that time we made application under federal law to preserve the right-of-way for high-speed rail. We are currently trying to take that effort further.

We need your help in that effort. The FRA decided that we are not eligible to respond to the current requests for proposals that are due by September 2009. We would like you to help us get the POW V corridor included so that the FRA will accept our future planned proposal. If you're looking to be a part of transforming a region and building a national infrastructure for tomorrow, you'll want to engage with POW V today. Once you join our growing movement, we'll let you know how your efforts can be optimized.

Thanks in advance and we look forward to hearing from you,

POW V High Speed Rail

Join POW V @

Dear fellow Americans-

Dear fellow Americans,

In this age of hope we present what is a good idea. While the nation springs forward to take on the challenges of the future we say why not here. It’s our idea to include our area in the growth to take place. Specifically to put POW V (Pennsylvania, Ohio & West Virginia) in the national high-speed rail infrastructure that is planned for the future. But beyond just putting our link into the network we propose prototyping the structure. We intend to use the local coal, steel, and electric in building our system and then others. This region has served as the backbone for the country's infrastructure many times before. We are now positioned to leverage our strengths towards the new economy which will serve our economy, our people and our environment for many generations to come. This will mean a lot to our community, it means destiny as a leader in an industry that is in its infancy. An industry whose time has come and whose needs are enormous towards fueling a sustainable future. We need everybody’s help in our efforts to go forward and that is why we ask you to join us at this time.

Membership to our association is quite simple just fill out the form and then we will email you with updates. As a member you will do whatever it is that you find of interest when the time arises. There are no dues and we will not send you anything besides an occasional email unless you request otherwise. At this point we are building a base to generate ideas and maintain an open line of communication. Remember by joining you are agreeing to be part of the destiny, the hope, and if all goes well our areas’ (and the country's) prosperity.


POWV High Speed Rail Mgmt Team