The Burgh Diaspora has a nice little post about the Amtrak high-speed rail plan and how it relates to the Burgh.
Pittsburgh is increasingly isolated. The historical geography of the region lends itself to a particularly fierce form parochialism and is partly to blame for anemic in-migration. Pittsburgh desperately needs to improve its inter-urban connectivity, especially with cities outside of the United States. Domestically, which high-speed rail route would best benefit Pittsburgh?Actually, it's surprising that Jason Altmire is pushing the Cleveland/Pittsburgh corridor.
Paz chips in his two cents:No one is going to admit it, but Cleveburgh is probably a more important line than the Keystone corridor (and this is coming from someone who goes East far more often then he goes West). A Cleveland-Pittsburgh line is more in keeping with the major city-paring lines like the Hiawatha in Milwaukee or the Lincoln service in Illinois. Keystone makes more sense politically, but I think Cleveburgh makes more sense from an economic and cultural standpoint.
No, wait... what's the opposite of surprising? Yeah: obvious.
I mean, Altmire gets that there's a Regional connection between Cleveland and Pittsburgh... and that if this rail line is built, PA-04 is going to benefit enormously, not just from the construction itself but also from the competition/collaboration that can result between the two Regions.
Amtrak, of course, believes that because we are in Pennsylvania, we're obviously to be lumped in with Philadelphia.* While to some extent there may be some truth to that, there will probably be less Regional cross-pollination.
What Altmire has the opportunity to do, however, is make Pittsburgh a major transit node, linking Chicago and the Midwest with Phillie, D.C. and the East... you know, like Switzerland.
* Amtrak is obviously unaware of the existence of the Great Pop/Soda War of '19, between the East and Midwest, in which the loser got Pittsburgh.**
** This is a joke. The loser got Toledo.***
*** This is also a joke. It was the Toledo War.