Madden announces $3.7M for passenger rail, $1M for hospital expansion

HARRISBURG, Oct. 28 – Passenger rail rolled closer to its triumphant return to Northeast Pennsylvania with today’s announcement from state Rep. Maureen Madden that a significant grant for railroad line construction has been awarded to the Monroe County Industrial Development Authority.

Madden also announced funding for St. Luke’s Hospital and its Monroe Campus expansion and renovation project. Both grants were delivered through the Commonwealth’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, which awarded various statewide grants Wednesday.

The passenger rail project was awarded $3,685,624 after receiving strong support from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ Democratic Caucus’ Northeast Delegation, on which Madden, D-Monroe, serves as chair. The hospital project was awarded $1 million with strong support from Madden.

“Both of these projects are near and dear to my heart, and both are critical for not just residents of Monroe County, but for the entire region,” Madden said. “I am among a passionate and vocal throng who have been advocating for the return of Northeast PA passenger rail service because it can do so much good for so many reasons, and this funding goes a long way toward making that a reality sooner rather than later.

“For St. Luke’s Monroe Campus, this funding will allow the expansion and renovation of the Interventional Radiology and Catheterization labs, which helps St. Luke’s better serve our growing community and treat more patients in Monroe County rather than forcing them to travel to other regional campuses. It’s a win-win for the hospital and our residents.”

Larry Malski, president of the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority, said the funding for passenger rail would go toward purchasing and installing nearly 43,000 railroad crossties along the PNRRA-owned Pocono Mainline to provide required upgrades for the new FRA/Amtrak passenger corridor project to commence between NEPA and New York City.

The new passenger rail line will increase mobility for Scranton, the Poconos region and New York residents to and from the broader northeast region with daily, multi-frequency service.

“On behalf of the PNRRA and the MCIDA, we wish to express our deep appreciation to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in partnering with the citizens of Northeastern Pennsylvania by providing the first major capital financial commitment for the capital construction,” Malski said. “These new crossties will be installed in the Monroe County portion of the Pocono Mainline between the Delaware Water Gap and Tobyhanna, and it represents the first of many upgrades that this vital, publicly owned passenger corridor will receive from this project.”

At St. Luke’s Monroe Campus, the project will result in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab and the Interventional Radiology Lab having separate, dedicated labs for each. The existing staff lounge will be renovated and converted into a temporary procedure room during construction, and the existing IR Lab room will be renovated to create more room for more equipment.

“St. Luke’s University Health Network’s overarching goal is to provide healthcare services to people where they are,” said Donald Seiple, president of St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Monroe Campus. “Expanding our interventional radiology services will allow more Monroe County residents to stay in the community for their healthcare needs. We are so appreciative to have the support from our legislators and funding from the Commonwealth for this project.”

The RACP is a commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects.

RACP projects are authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of a Capital Budget Itemization Act, have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact, and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues or other measures of economic activity.

For more information, contact one of Madden’s offices at 570-420-2850 (Stroudsburg) or 570-894-7905 (Tobyhanna) or email