Last updated: February 01. 2014 10:39PM - 3586 Views
By - jsylvester@civitasmedia.com



The state will grant this Scranton State Office Building parking lot to the County of Lackawanna Transit System, which plans to build an intermodal transportation center there. The property is near the Steamtown National Historic Site.
The state will grant this Scranton State Office Building parking lot to the County of Lackawanna Transit System, which plans to build an intermodal transportation center there. The property is near the Steamtown National Historic Site.
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If passenger rail service returns to our area, its starting point would be near The Mall at Steamtown in Scranton.
 
Plans are in motion to build a intermodal transportation center in the 100 block of Lackawanna Avenue, on what is now the parking lot of the Scranton State Office Building, to provide a terminal for fixed route public buses, intercity commercial buses and taxis.
 
Planners built the center with passenger rail in mind. If NJ Transit's Lackawanna Cutoff Line comes to pass, a platform could be added to the transportation center to turn it into a train station.
 
It could be transformed into a train station, as well, if a platform is added.
 
“It's not part of the initial project,” said Robert Fiume, executive director of the County of Lackawanna Transit System, (COLTS) which is building the center. But “there would be room to add a train platform in phase 2 of the project.”
 
The transportation hub has been in the planning stages for nearly a decade.
 
Separate from the intermodal center, local leaders have been exploring options and trying to find a way to establish passenger rail service between Scranton and Hoboken, N.J., where riders could pick up a connection into Manhattan, which is just across the Hudson River.
 
To do so would require working with New Jersey on a project that would cost more than a half of a billion dollars and would include rebuilding 28 miles of track in northern New Jersey known as the Lackawanna Cutoff.
 
New Jersey has been rebuilding seven miles of that line, but no other funding has been approved.
 
But even without the passenger rail line, the intermodal project is underway. A combination of federal, state and local funding will pay for the $12.6 million structure.
 
Groundbreaking will take place late spring or early summer, and it will take 14 months to build, Fiume said.
 
To build the center, the state and COLTS took part in a land swap. The state Department of General Services, which manages state properties and non-highway projects, is granting COLTS the land where the parking lot is located. COLTS will build the intermodal center on that site.
 
COLTS also purchased the nearby Martz Trailways terminal and a former Nissan dealership property.
 
“We would put displaced parking there,” Fiume said of the sites.
 
Martz will move to the intermodal center and rent space there.
 
The property transfer is part of legislation that includes land transfers. State Sen. John Blake, D-Archbald, was a prime sponsor of Senate Bill 845, later amended into House Bill 488 and signed into law by the governor as Act 43 of 2011.
 

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