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Rail expansions positive move, as would be new safety measures

Though passenger railroads once criss-crossed our region, Ohio has become flyover country for many in the U.S. Those living in the Buckeye State who wish to travel largely have been limited to planes and automobiles, as the option to board trains has disappeared.

But expansion projects announced this week by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, may change that.

U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration officials have selected four routes in Ohio as priorities for Amtrak expansion: Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati, the 3C+D corridor; Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit; Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus-Pittsburgh, the Midwest Connect corridor via Lima, Kenton, Marysville, Columbus, Newark, Coshocton, Newcomerstown, Uhrichsville and Steubenville in Ohio; Daily Cardinal Service, increasing service frequency from three days per week to daily on Amtrak’s service to Cincinnati between New York City, Washington, D.C. and Chicago via Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.

“Today’s announcement is a great first step toward expanding Amtrak in Ohio,” Brown said. “Good Amtrak service shouldn’t be a privilege only for people on the coasts. These new routes would expand opportunity, help grow businesses and create jobs, and connect communities in Ohio and across the Midwest.”

Of course, it would be wonderful to hope railroad safety reforms will accompany such an expansion. But increased transportation options for Ohioans (and for those hoping to visit or commute into Ohio) will be an important part of the expansion and diversification of the state’s economy. Those in both Columbus and Washington, D.C., who helped make it happen are to be commended.

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