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5 New Ohio Passenger Rail Routes Have Been Proposed By Amtrak

Rumors of significant passenger rail coming to Ohio are a tale as old as time.

Okay, I’m being slightly hyperbolic, but genuinely, it seems like there’s always some exciting passenger rail that never quite comes to fruition. But this time could be different.

Amtrak representatives have reportedly been meeting with Ohio leaders with the hope of pursuing passenger rail expansions of five new routes throughout the state. The new routes would be initiated using all federal funds, which could be a crucial step in overcoming the hurdles Ohio has faced thus far when it comes to passenger rail.

The five new routes, according to advocacy group All Aboard, are:

  • Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati (3C) Corridor: three daily round trips with intermediate station stops
  • Cincinnati-Indianapolis-Chicago: four daily round trips with intermediate station stops
  • Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit-Pontiac: three daily round trips with intermediate station stops, including a possible extension of Wolverine Corridor train service from Chicago
  • Cleveland-Buffalo-Albany-New York: two daily round trips with intermediate station stops
  • Cleveland-Pittsburgh-New York: one daily round trip with intermediate station stops via an extension of Keystone Corridor train service.

If that 3C Corridor route sounds familiar, that’s because it was originally approved by Governor Ted Strickland (D) back in 2010, then subsequently canceled by Gov. John Kasich the following year.

All Aboard wants Ohioans who are on board (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist) with the idea of passenger rail to reach out to elected officials to show their support. The Ohio Department of Transportation will have to make a request from Amtrak for the passenger rail expansions, and the Ohio General Assembly will be reviewing the ODOT budget this spring. The budget is only reviewed every two years, so time is of the essence.

“This Corridor Development Program is a major policy shift for Amtrak,” said All Aboard Ohio Executive Director Stu Nicholson. “Since it began in 1971, Amtrak has been largely reactive and not proactive when it comes to its growth. This policy shift is very welcome and long overdue when it comes to dealing with states like Ohio that have almost no service and thus almost no political constituency to create a passenger rail development program. We hope that Congress will authorize and fully fund this Corridor Development Program.”

Here in Columbus, we haven’t had any passenger rail service since 1977. The idea of being able to hop on a train and go to Cincinnati or Cleveland for the day would be a total game-changer for most Ohioans.

To read more about the proposed routes or to find a sample template for contacting your representatives, please visit All Aboard’s website here.

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