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Funding for Ohio high-speed rail nears crossroad



Published: Sun, April 11, 2010 @ 5:12 p.m.

By MARC KOVAC

mkovac@dixcom.com

COLUMBUS

State transportation officials have formally asked lawmakers to release $25 million to conduct studies for establishing passenger rail services between Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland.

The Ohio Department of Transportation says the funds, part of $400 million in rail money awarded the state by the federal government, will be “used for design, engineering, construction and operation of 3C passenger rail service,” according to documents.

The item is included on the State Controlling Board agenda for April 19. At least one Republican on the panel must sign off on the funding in order for the study to move forward.

Senate President Bill Harris, a Republican from Ashland, said his caucus will be ready to make a decision by the board meeting.

Harris earlier sent a 16-page letter to the director of ODOT, seeking answers to questions about the rail project before Republicans offered their approval for the study.

Proponents of the rail plan believe the corridor is a necessary first step toward establishing eventual high-speed rail service throughout the state.

But critics question whether consumer demand will support rail service and how much state funding will be required to sustain and update it.

Gov. Ted Strickland continued to defend the project last week


Comments

1Attis(904 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

High Speed Rail, real HSR, is the economic engine of the future. Once upon a time, we had the fastest passengers trains in the world. That was when gas prices were under 25 cents a gallon and passenger planes were rare. Now we face well over $3 per gallon for gas; clogged highways with no one getting anywhere fast or cheap; jammed airports with hours of waiting time; and passenger rail service is back in the horse and buggy stage. We either rapidly develop HSR or face rapid economic decline, if not collapse.

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2pci510(105 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Take a look at high speed rail in other states to find maintenance costs keep getting higher and average train cars derailed per accident was 9 or more, injuries including people who died because of poor maintenance. Survey taken in 10 companies and less than 1% would use the train because of all the inconvenience. Why not use the money on the school systems here in Ohio which is needing funds to better the school system. Posted by Dereck

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3UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

The Republicants are right on this one. Waste of $400 million and does no good for anyone except the politicians and those who send them the bribes.

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4300(562 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Does route 11 pay for itself? Of course it doesn't, but indirectly it opens up parts of the area. The same is true for high-speed passenger rail.

There should be a network of high-speed rail connecting all the major, and some of the minor, cities from Pittsburgh over to Milwaukee and down to St. Louis. The terrain, population density, and industrial nature of the greater Great Lakes region is tailor-made for what they've got in France and Germany.

I'm amazed that Ohio is leading the way in this considering how few of its inhabitants are college-educated and capable of thinking.

Investing in our region is the only way to improve it. It'll take 20 years to become as developed as Western Europe, but it's worth it. When Ohio resembles Poland more than it does Germany, it results in what we've got going on now.

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5ricnsherri(41 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Hey 300, go have sex with yourself. How's that for an uneducated Ohioan thinking for himself.

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6Landarch(7 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

ricnsherri.
real nice, youve opened the door a little wider for 300 like comments. maybe try a response with a bit more tact and well thought argument against rail.
I am a proponent of it. plain and simple. the largest hurdle of all in a state like ohio that is 5 th in total highway miles, is going to be ridership. Ohio is a sprawl state. sprawl is no longer associated only with the regions around cities. this leads to density issues and ability for the rail to service the population that is best served by the car...which we must reduce!
However, rail and efficient mass transportation is one of many layers in combating sprawl, oil dependency, air pollution, etc and the fears of ma transit accidents should be compared to the risks associated with automobile use and high numbers of accidents.

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