This fall, federal funding for passenger rail routes of less than 750 miles will no longer be available. That could kill Amtrak's Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg passenger train, known as the "Pennsylvanian," which makes stops in Huntingdon, Lewistown and Tyrone.
"Most of kids at Juniata catch train, don't have cars," said Donnita Ellison, a freshman at Juniata College student. She takes the train to get to and from her home in Philadelphia.
"If I didn't have this, I wouldn't have a way to go home"
To keep it alive, PennDOT would have to cover the $5.7 million subsidy to operate the rail line.
Because of changes in the federal funding PennDOT will have to cover the $5.7 million subsidy to operate on the rail line for that portion of track from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh. That is because Northfolk Southern owns the line. Rep. Mike Fleck (R) says it is not a done deal.
"I don't know if it will be an uphill battle, certainly we need our legislators on board, business and industry who benefit from the service," said Representative Fleck.
Fleck is concerned that people that work at the two state correctional institutions in Huntingdon and students and staff from Juniata College could be hurt.
"Certainly the government has a role in maintaining infrastructure that allows us to ship goods and services and people to get where they need to go," said Fleck.
Fleck is hoping to keep this passenger line running by working with representatives from other districts where the line has other stops. He says the key to increasing passengers is by making it more convenient to use the train, and that means adding service.