Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Faster trains; Latino festival, Spelling Bee

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Feb 26, 2015 3:00 PM
Amtrak train 600 x 340.jpg

What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, February 27, 2015:

High-speed rail has been on the drawing board in Pennsylvania for more than 30 years. During that time, the trains became faster, but still aren't classic high-speed railways like Japan or Europe has.

A recent study by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration and Norfolk Southern concluded trains between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh could cut 10 minutes off a five-and-half-hour trip but it would cost $2 billion.

Penndot's Erin Waters-Trasatt appears on Friday's Smart Talk to explain why.

We'll also learn about the 2015 Latino Arts Festival of the Susquehanna Valley to be held March 5-7 in downtown Lancaster.  The festival's Norman Bristol Colon joins us to describe the celebration of diversity and culture through music, dance, and the arts.

Finally, WITF's Central Pennsylvania Spelling Bee is scheduled for this weekend.  You'll have more respect for the young spellers once you hear several WITF air personalities spell during the Smart Talk Spelling Bee.

To check out the website on the Penn Dot study mentioned by Erin Waters Trasatt on the program, click here.

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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-02-27 09:27

    Matt emails:

    To me, why are we trying to get rail to pittsburgh? Pittsburgh is a tourist destination for people in central PA; there aren't a ton of jobs there, so we don't NEED HSR to there. Why aren't we talking about connecting HSR to the Baltimore-Washington DC metro area, or even NYC? (Obviously Philly as well) The future of HSR isn't as a pleasure outing; it's as a commuter option to the places where the jobs are. Why are we talking about Pittsburgh?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-02-27 09:30

    Wayne writes:

    In 1953, the fastest Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh made the trip in 4 hours and 50 minutes, not a whole lot different than today. And that was when the railroad was running its own trains.

    That said, rather than spending untold dollars to shave 10 minutes off current travel time, it might make better sense to use the funds to add a second train so rail is a real alternative to driving for the folks who live along the line.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-02-27 09:32

    Thomas writes:

    As a consumer of travel I am looking at the trade offs. The time it takes to drive is between 3.5 and 4 hours to get to Pittsburgh, but I must pay fuel, tolls and speeding tickets. The price point is Megabus which averages 41$ round trip but takes well over 4 hours. What is your plan on staying competitive?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-02-27 09:51

    Brian emails:

    Spelling Bee ………… Good.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-02-27 09:58

    Ann emails:

    I really enjoyed the program today. It was hilarious to know our hosts could not spell those easy words! I failed too! Sometimes we need to laugh.

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-02-27 12:23

    A factual error I wanted to correct. During the show, I stated that Philadelphia had the 7th most train passengers in the country. Actually, Philadelphia is 3rd with more than 4.1 million passengers who rode Amtrak in 2013. Lancaster was 19th nationally with 578,000 and Harrisburg 20th with almost 572 thousand. Pennsylvanians, especially in the eastern part of the state use passenger rail.