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Biden's Infrastructure Plan Makes Another Attempt At Expanding Ohio's Passenger Rail Routes

[Loco Steve / Flickr]

President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan includes an $80 billion investment in passenger rail. Amtrak has announced one of the potential projects from that investment would be another crack at expanding the system to run regularly between Cincinnati and Cleveland.

The "3-C+D corridor" proposal is back: a train route connecting Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland, with a handful other stops also along the way.

In 2011, then-Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, rejected $400 million dollars in federal funds to create the corridor. Back then, the speed of the train was a target of critics.

Derrick James, Amtrak’s director of government affairs, said the new proposal features faster travel.

"We know that speed is important. We know that the narrative is important. And so we are proposing to invest enough in the host railroad to get the speed up," James said during a panel discussion at the Columbus Metropolitan Club.

If approved, the federal government would pay to keep the line running for the first three years, with a phased-in handoff of operations to the state. The last project’s cost estimates ran up to $17 million a year from the state for operations.

The new proposal says the corridor would have a $129 million annual economic impact.