Posted Thursday, April 22, 2010
Democrats in Columbus marshall their votes and ignore the opposition, giving the Ohio Department of Transportation the first $25 million step towards rebuilding passenger rail across the state. The state Department of Education promises to spread the wealth to every district if Ohio secures a federal Race to the Top funds, which couldn't come soon enough in Cleveland, as more than five hundred teachers prepare to receive layoff notices. Thursday morning at 9, join host Dan Moulthrop and reporters from across the state for analysis of those stories and others, including the high cost of government in even Ohio's smallest communities.
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It seems that the idea of the subsidy is a little bit deceptive. I don’t know of any interstate highway, state highway or any road for matter matter that does not operate without a tax-payer subsidy. Drivers aren’t paying into a private fund to repair and maintain roads, they’re paying taxes as is everyone who uses the roads or not. The question is how much the subsidy is per person transported or something similar.
I feel a backup to air travel for mass-transit is vital. (Just think back to September 11th when the only way to move around the country was by car.)
We need to get on this band wagon or everyone will be riding past us, and we’ll be left behind. That will be worse for Ohio and our economy than working hard to find ways to make this work now, and beneficial to the state and economy once running well. It is also a more green alternative if it can help cut travel by car.
The Continental hub and 3c rail stories are interrelated.
Please ask your guests what happens when gas gets back over $4.00 per gallon.
Also, is cleveland better off strengthening its existing rail links to Pittsburgh anbd Chicago instead of other Ohio cities?
Passenger rail was virtually abandoned by railroads in the mid-1960’s due to several factors - mainly air travel, the interstate system and (perceived) high labor costs (for crew). If there’s a market for it, it’s “invisible” as those people make due with what IS available or forego traveling.
Reinventing passenger rail will be a risky venture unless a significant portion of their budget goes for aggressive marketing - along with everything else. Hope it succeeds as it’s a source of un-exportable jobs. From that viewpoint, $25 million seems like a very low number.
Hope the planners ALSO invent a way for small investors to put in their few bucks in a tax-advantaged way, to keep non-tax, foundational dollars flowing.