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Valley left at the station in high-speed rail funding

Published: Fri, January 29, 2010 @ 12:06 a.m.

By David Skolnick

Youngstown likely will come on board in the next phase of funding, an official said.

YOUNGSTOWN — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown calls $400 billion in funding for passenger rail service for Ohio “probably the most important announcement” President Barack Obama has made.

And how much will the Mahoning Valley receive?

Nothing — at least for the next two to three years.

“Youngstown can certainly become part of the [next] plan, and we and the governor [Ted Strickland] are willing to work to make it happen,” Ray LaHood, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, told The Vindicator on Thursday. “Because someone was not included today doesn’t mean they won’t be included in the future.”

The decision on where to locate the rail line was made by Ohio officials, he said.

It will take two to three years for the $400 million rail route that would link Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton to be running, Brown said.

While the Valley is not involved in this project, it will be a part of the next phase as a key connection between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, Brown said.

That next phase, costing $2.5 billion nationwide, will begin as soon as the rail projects announced Thursday are finished, LaHood said. Congress already approved funding for that second phase.

State Rep. Robert F. Hagan of Youngstown, chairman of the Ohio House Transportation Committee and a locomotive engineer, said he understands why the Valley won’t be part of the initial passenger rail project, and has been assured by state officials that the area will be part of the second phase.

“This is the beginning,” he said. “We’re doing the major metro areas first. We have to show that those rail lines will be successful in the state’s most-populated areas and then we can build on that.”

Obama announced funding for $8 billion in 13 passenger rail projects nationwide Thursday.

Hagan, D-60th, added: “While I am disappointed that we were not able to be included in the first phase of passenger rail development, I remain confident that we will have an opportunity in the near future.”




1Lifes2Short(3879 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

The way the crime is running rampart, this would be idea for the low life animals, do the murder and skip out of town on the high speed rail.

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2Attis(978 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

the connection that makes sense for the country is between Cleveland and Buffalo so that the East Coast is connected to the Midwest. The Cleveland-Pittsburgh connection only makes sense if and when Pittsburgh is connected to Philly through Harrisburg.

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3henryviii1509(274 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

The rail would make the exodus quicker and more efficient.

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4apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Why does the Youngstown Warren area think it deserves a piece of every funding project? Are we really that naive to believe that this area is all that important? Do we really think that people WANT to come to the valley and for what? Youngstown is a shrinking city. So is Warren. We are becoming less relevant not more. The state made a wise choice in the first phase. Connect the largest cities. Youngstown isn't one of the them.

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5sue(176 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Mahoning Valley residents: keep voting only Democrat, it's working so well for us! - LOL.

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6apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Voting for Lyle Williams the Republican worked so well too! It has nothing to do with who we vote for.

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7sue(176 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

If an area votes for only one party, be it Democrat or Republican, it has no leverage and will continue to be taken for granted by the politicians.

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8Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Sue, that is precisely the problem. The reality is the Youngstown area is completely taken for granted, and even though we keep receiving nothing from these people, we keep voting them in. So apparently they must think we are happy getting nothing, and that is certainly the message we keep sending.

If there was more of a swing to this area, people would be giving money hand over fist because they would KNOW our vote would depend on what they do for us as a region.

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9apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Most areas of the country vote one way! Which party we vote for has no impact. Lyle Williams and numerous Republican Youngstown mayors made no difference either. People who think always voting one way or the other makes a difference, it doesn't.

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10sue(176 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Lyle williams was last in office 25 YEARS AGO! Since then we have had pretty much only Democrat elected officials in this area. Congressman, state senators, state representatives, county commissioners, sheriffs, county auditors, county treasurers, and on and on. If you don't think that this area has gotten shafted because everyone knows that they can count on the Mahoning Valley for Democrat votes then you are naive.

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11Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Sometimes you need to be out for yourself Paul, because that is all Cleveland is interested in, all that Columbus is interested in (without any argument, Columbus is for Columbus and no one else), and Cincy is out for Cincy.

This high speed rail is no different, and just because Columbus wants the monopoly on everything good in Ohio does not make it right.

Columbus would be nothing without the industry of Youngstown, Warren, and Akron, and somewhere along the way they forgot that. Nothing would make me happier then to give them a reality check, because that city stole the wealth of the state.

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12apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

The curb cut king (formerly Tugboat) says: What does?

Well, Tug, since Republicans control Boardman, how come Boardman isn't getting massive "bribes" from the Democrats to change that vote?

The valley has had congressmen of both parties including Traficant who became a Republican in his last few terms and we continue to decline.

Maybe finding some local leaders (both political and business) with the intellect to not need a constant handout from the taxpayers!

I can tell you this, a teacher who censors ratings on a website isn't the answer.

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13valleyred(1102 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Numerous Republican Mayors!?!?!?! What are you talking about APOLLO? I am not going to let you spew nonfactual nonsense on this website.

Who are all these numerous Republican mayors from the Mahoning Valley you are speaking of?

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14Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Really? The valley has had Congressmen from both parties? Well, it has been 25 years since Republicans have held that seat. The statute of limitations on blaming Republicans was up 20 years ago.

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15apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Jack Hunter was Republican mayor of Youngstown at the very peak of the steel mill closures. Lyle Williams was Republican congressman during and after the same steel mill closure period. Boardman is heavily Republican. George McKelvey endorsed Bush. So did a Democrat Austintown trustee. Then there are the faux Democrats who only run as Democrats because it gives them a leg up. Cafaro used to be one of the largest donors to the Republican party. He supports McNally and other "Democrats". What letter the candidates have after their names is meaningless.

The only people who think it matters are those who run as Republicans and lose.

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16plwise(8 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

I think you are all missing the biggest issue. All "high speed" rail lines are government subsidized. None can make it on ridership alone.

Many high-speed train initiatives have been derailed due to their exorbitant cost — recent rail construction in Spain averaged some $22 million per mile. This according to A Brief History of:
High-Speed Rail in Time Magazine.


So for 8 billion you get 363 miles.

Have at it!

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17chuckscherl(25 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Only a railroad that went in one direction makes sense .... AWAY from Youngstown ... I don't know why anyone would want to come to this place.

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18Father_oftime(5 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

hey foxtrot didn't your mother ever tell you "if you dont have anything nice to say don't say anything at all" Geez get a life

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19AXLE69(181 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

usa1 pro-conservaterican wrote....The Valley was left behind when it came to brains. It's still infamous for militant unions, the Mafia, enthusiastic, mindless sport fan hysteria and anti-capitalist hatred. But they can cook. They enjoy a great ethnic cuisine but never became 100% American. Dagos, Hunkies, Pallacks........ Hmmm,well let`s look at his latest rants,Militant unions? Where? The UAW at Lordstown is recognized throughout the industry as the model for the future.Well you`re wrong there usa1 pro-conservaterican.Shocker.The Mafia? If the Mafia was still running the Valley does anyone think we would have the crime in Youngstown and Warren that we do? Back in the day,the scumbag that killed at St.Doms would have been whacked by nightfall.Turn off the Sopranos usa1 pro-conservaterican.Oh, so we are the only area with sports fanatics usa1 pro-conservaterican? That`s so asinine I`m not wasting space on it. And so Hunkies,Pollocks(i spelled it correctly) and Dagos are not real Americans in your feeble mind usa1 pro-conservaterican? What nationality are you? Unless you`re a Native American, which I know you`re not because you would hate yourself,then your people came from somewhere.I`m aware that reading your post makes it hard to believe you are from our planet but I know you are,so where did your ancestors come to America from? Please share with all the rest of us inferior people where the omnipotent usa1-pro-conservaterican hails from? Then we can all bow down to you.LOL..And by the way,you could always move to some safe teabagger haven if you hate the area so much.Isn`t that a standard line from you ultra-rightists,"Love it or Leave it".Well there you go.I solved your problem.LOL

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20atek101(77 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

As an All Aboard Ohio member, I can tell you this discussion about high speed rail in Ohio (and in Youngstown) has been going on since I was in high school (in the early 2000s). I'm glad to see the first phase of the plan go through, personally. It would be ideal to be able to commute from the center of Youngstown to other cities in the state and in this region of the country.

And Boardman may be our community's commercial strip, but when I want to see a concert or museum, go to a club or bar, consult a government agency, attend college, see a doctor, and peform pretty much every function of living other than buying clothes, I do it in Youngstown.

I also don't agree in this whole 'criminal migration' mentality about mass transportation. As a soon-to-be young professional, I don't want to be dependent upon a car to commute to everywhere I want to go. I want options, and so do people of all ages! If you bring a car with you on a trip, you have to be responsible for that car (and pay for parking) everywhere you want to go. It can be cumbersome and often just as, if not more, expensive than forms of mass transit.

Back before Amtrak closed its doors in Youngstown in 2005 attendance numbers were actually on the rise. People from the suburbs had begun utilizing the train station in Downtown Youngstown for weekend trips to other cities as far away as Chicago.

Furthermore, we are a large population base and metropolitan area and our economic conditions warrant national funding for public improvements, provided we can prove that we have good plans for spending that money (and we do have good plans). If we are to grow and thrive as a community in the 21st Century, we need to have the amenities necessary to compete with other cities in the global marketplace. I don't know about you, but -I- deserve access to those amenities and that includes effective and functional mass transportation systems.

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21VINDYAK(1803 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Hi-Speed Rail? Don't believe it. This is false advertising by the government.

Hi-speed rail in America is NOT going to happen until we build dedicated rail lines strickly for the hi-speed trains. Our rail systems today CANNOT provide the hi-speed systems as in Europe and Japan. If you were to take this proposed (and so called) "hi-speed" train, it will be so slow you could arrive quicker by driving your car.

This proposed system will fail because the government will not put up the money to build the necessary rail lines. Once this proposed system is up and "running" our leaders will discover they have run out of money and ridership has not risen to estimates because the travel time is too long, with too many stops and delays. Then, look for tax increases to pay for upgrades.

Save your money Ohio, put it into JOBS for Ohioans.

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