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

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