Pennsylvania high-speed rail effort gets Kickstarter funding

The grassroots revolution bringing high-speed passenger rail service to America began today for much of western Pennsylvania. The rail advocacy group All Aboard Erie launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign for a study of potential passenger routes between Erie and Pittsburgh. Within the first three hours of launching this morning, backers exceeded the project’s $3,000 goal.  Here is a link to the Kickstarter page:

The group is raising $25,000 for a route study as the first step in a multi-step process to connect the two cities with HSR service. AAE had raised $6,000 before the Kickstarter campaign. 

“Today’s stunning response shows that people want to make HSR happen now,” said Brian Pitzer, executive director of All Aboard Erie. “We aren’t waiting for the government or an international business or a group of investors, as some other parts of the country are doing. We are doing this ourselves, and if other organizations want to join us they would be welcome on board. 

Even though the original goal has already been met, the campaign is far from over. Pitzer said the $3,000 was just the first step. Every dollar the campaign makes over the original goal will go towards making the dream of high-speed rail a reality. 

“We are taking a step-by-step approach,” said Pitzer. “Each step will be a building block for a completed rail system. We need to take that first step now if we want to the project to become a reality. Studies have shown that people want transportation alternatives that include HSR – especially young people in the Millennial generation.”

The study will examine four separate routes: three in Pennsylvania and one that includes Ashtabula and Youngstown, Ohio. Cities in Pennsylvania that could be served by the proposed 110-m.p.h. trains include Greenville, Sharon, Sharpsville, New Castle, Beaver Falls, Aliquippa and Coraopolis as well as Erie and Pittsburgh. Once the best route is identified, All Aboard Erie will then seek to fund a more extensive feasibility study. 

Kickstarter is a popular crowd-funding platform used by individuals and organizations to fund a wide variety of projects. Some of the rewards to be offered by the campaign include railroad maps, books, DVDs, embroidered patches, T-shirts and copies of the completed study itself. 

Advising the campaign is Kickstarter expert Kristan Wheaton, an assistant professor in Mercyhurst University’s Tom Ridge School of Intelligence Studies and Information Science. He has run several successful Kickstarter campaigns and developed his own program called Quickstarter to help others be successful as well. Students in his Quickstarter program assisting the campaign include (from Mercyhurst University) Tyler Ennis, Hannah Corton, Megan Steele and Katie Kayes and (from Penn State (Behrend)) Shelby Dailey and Kathryn Nicklas. Quickstarter is largely funded from the IgniteErie grant from the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority.

Distributed by CrowdfundingPR

Media Contact
Company Name: Build America’s next high-speed railroad
Contact Person: Brian Pitzer
Phone: 814-440-0617
Country: United States