The future of travel is being discussed and it could involve Erie being a part of an Amtrak expansion.
There are hopes that Erie could become a destination city if involved with the expansion but travel experts say local leaders must first get involved.
According to Brian Pitzer, a member of All Aboard Erie, Amtrak has proposed adding several additional routes across the nation and he said there is one route that could involve Erie.
“The most likely would be Cleveland to Erie to Buffalo and perhaps to Toronto,” said Pitzer.
Pitzer added that numerous states and municipalities are coming together in an effort to receive funding for the routes. He said local leaders and authorities would have to come together for Erie to be a part of the expansion.
“That would include the mayor’s office, the county executive’s office, our congressional delegation and our own metropolitan planning organization. It’s important that they reach out to their sister organizations in Buffalo and Cleveland and say we’d like to do this as a joined effort,” Pitzer said.
John Oliver, president and CEO of VisitErie, said Erie’s involvement would provide an expanded opportunity of transportation to visitors and give residents more accessible travel to larger surrounding cities.
“Obviously, trains are certainly an effective, efficient way of moving people around, and if we have the right timing, I think it’s something Erie might be able to take advantage of,” said Oliver.
Oliver added that if Erie is included in the expansion, there are hopes the city will become a destination for larger cities.
“Coming down Toronto to Niagara Falls or Buffalo and then having an opportunity for people to perhaps take the train to Erie down the road and back home certainly would give us an advantage in promoting ourselves as a destination,” Oliver added.
Oliver said the timing of the service coming in and out of Erie would be a critical factor in the planning process.