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The Sound of Ideas

The Future of Passenger Rail in Ohio

Posted Thursday, November 11, 2010

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The Future of Passenger Rail in Ohio The “3-C” passenger rail line that would have linked Cleveland to Columbus and Cincinnati is off the tracks. Governor-elect John Kasich calls it an expensive boondoggle and vows that if he can't redirect the 400 million dollars in federal funds earmarked for the project, he'll just give the money back. Does that mean passenger rail in Ohio is dead? Or is there the will -- and the means -- to build European-style high-speed rail in the buckeye state? All Aboard the Sound of Ideas, Thursday at 9 on 90.3.


Other, Transportation


Kevin Brubaker, Deputy Director, Midwest Environmental Law and Policy Center
Bill Habig, President, Transportation Matters
State Sen. Tom Patton, 24th District
Mike Dawson, Consultant

Additional Information

Kasich wants Strickland to put the brakes on 3C rail plan, but Strickland has plans of his own
Wisconsin, Ohio governor-elects share views on stopping trains High-speed railroading

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Sue Mancino 12:25 AM 11/11/10

What does driving cost?  I-71 alone averages 26 deaths/year and many more injuries.  The IRS rates for driving is 55c/mile while a rail ticket will be 14c. Driving time is wasted, unproductive time.  Rail time is for studying, working, and arriving fed and rested and ready. And all of this on tax producing track, unlike untaxed roads.

Michael J. Connor 12:56 AM 11/11/10

I am a recently retired railroad operating officer (and hold a degree in Transportation Economics from John Carroll University) - 1. trains of this start-up nature have been very successful in other states; 2.increased station-oriented development and railway equipment and supplies purchases from passenger trains are major economic drivers.  I am baffled as to why our leaders won’t act now while we still have time to help insulate Ohioans from coming traffic congestion and radically increasing fuel prices.  We don’t live in the 1950’s--the highway-centric transportation policies of our parents are literally driving us to immobility.  The 3-C train--and others--are the track to a car-free care-free future.
If Governor-elect Kasich needs some counsel on how to make this train work, call.  The necessary railroad engineering, operating, and marketing skills are right here in Ohio.

Mable Farmer 10:09 AM 11/11/10

If Ohio was run as a business, there would be an effort to allocate finite capital to the highest and best use. The source of the capital (internally generated funds, externally generated funds, government grants) would not matter.  In addition to the rather agressive assumptions that seem to be behind the whatever-speed passenger train idea, I worry that not enough attention is being paid to the larger consideration about how we can get the best bang for the buck. 

david hervol 10:37 AM 11/11/10

Apparently the gas tax is not sufficient to fix the road infrastructure in Ohio.  Anyone living here sees the deplorable condition of the bridges and roads.  Until the “gasoline use tax” can properly maintain all the interstates and bridges, the system is not “self sustaining” any more than the rail system is.

Ms D Russell 10:39 AM 11/11/10

Typically, Americans citizens and corporations have a “next quarter” mentality and tend not to look at the enduring effect our actions. Without rail Ohio will never increase it’s population, the state will continue to lose people to states with rail.

erin 10:44 AM 11/11/10

it all started with the general motors streetcar scandal. it continues today with lobbyists from the big three to maintain the need of cars.

Joane Johnson 10:48 AM 11/11/10

To rail or not to rail, that is the question.  What ever the answer, they need to get a grip and stop the knee jerk denials of everything.  If Richard Nixon had compromised on one point during his term, they would have to dream up another bogus point to dislike this president.  The healthcare issue would have been solved 30+ yrs. ago.  Same for rail.  We will revisit this in the future with as much political bias as today.  It has nothing to do with money or anything but the wrong person in charge.  You did not say that for the wars, did you?  Pay for it.  That’s what makes it such a fabulous lie.

Justin Clark 11:09 AM 11/11/10

Why is it that no one is asking why it is that we have politicians (lawyers) making these decisions for us? Transportation is a technical problem. We should have engineers, technicians and scientists who are trained in this particular area ARRIVING at the proper solutions, not law making politicians.  The fact is, transportation in this country is a mess.  Everyone has a environment polluting car that not only is depleting fossil fuels at an alarming rate but spend 95% of their lifespan in a parking garage.  And dont even get me started on the dangers of everyone driving a car…

Jane Turzillo 11:11 AM 11/11/10

Sen. Patton hasn’t looked far enough down the road. He’s so afraid that our grandchildren are going to be paying for the rail system, but the fact of the matter is that all the people who are building the rail system will be paying taxes and the businesses the rail system will bring to Ohio will be paying taxes. The system will pay for itself. I say let’s take the money and start the trains running.

Michael J. Connor 12:08 PM 11/11/10

There was an egregious mis-statement of fact on the rail program Thursday morning wherein a caller said Ohio and France were the same size.  The fact is the Metropolitan France has a population of 62,793,432 and an area of 213,010 square miles giving a Franch population density of 299 people per square mile.  Ohio has an area of 44,825 square miles and a population (2009 estimate) of 11,542,645 giving us a population density of 256 people per square mile, very close to the French figure.  We have the population for passenger rail to work--will we we have the political leadership?

Craig Hoffman 12:26 PM 11/11/10

I’m frustrated that the discussion has been “all or nothing” with regards to rail service connecting our major cities in OH. This project, in addition to creating jobs, is an investment in our future of our state and cities. The derailing of the proposed rail system is a reflection of the undue influence that the auto and oil industries have in elections and public policy decisions. They ensure that our nation’s highway infrustructure is heavily subsided and then use the subsidy concerns as a primary argument against a rail system. The payback of such an investment should also include the impact on the environment as well as the secondary benefits to passengers who can travel with less stress, be more productive, and have opportunities to meet fellow passengers.

Mark 3:34 PM 11/11/10

High-speed rail is a great idea!  But the current plan isn’t speedy enough!  With an average speed slower than 60 mi/hr with multiple stops and a ticket that averages a tank of gas between Cleveland and Columbus - I would rather drive.  So would a lot of other people.  The rail line wouldn’t make enough money to pay for it.  Ohio is not able to support that type of rail.  A rail needs to be faster than driving a car and at very least cost about the same - ideally cheaper than driving.  If that doesn’t happen, the rail line will be a financial burden on Ohio with significant return on the cost.

Allen Harris 4:44 PM 11/11/10

I am one of many Ohioans who is very much in support of the high-speed train project between Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati.  As a local church pastor of a diverse urban congregation, I am keenly aware of the inequities between many Ohioans.  Not all of us can afford a car, nor the cost of gasoline as it continues to rise.  The 3C train would be a significant step toward bringing equality of access to citizens such as those in my church.  Also, quite personally, I am deeply committed to a sustainable lifestyle.  I live near where I work and walk to work as often as possible.  Many meetings of my regional church body are in Columbus and Cincinnati.  I absolutely would use this train and rejoice in doing so.  Finally, I prefer train travel to driving.  I lived in New York City for ten years and found the joy of being able to read, work on my laptop, move around, and basically enjoy travel while on the train.
In addition to the project bringing equality to Ohioans, it would create jobs, improve our air quality, show that Ohio is future-focused, and, as a side note, get more cars off our highways so that less money would have to be pumped into building and expanding highways.  Such a financial investment would benefit all the people of Ohio.  I am deeply troubled by Mr. Kasich’s cavalier attitude toward this project and his senseless attacks on such smart (and future-oriented) transportation opportunities.
Rev. Allen Harris


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