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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ohio's high-speed rail plans

Thanks to the Obama Administration, $8 billion was worked into the stimulus plan for high-speed rail projects. President Obama also plans to request $1 billion annually over the next five years for high-speed rail.

This is great for the United States and especially great for the Midwest and Ohio. Ohio has been working on right-of-way acquisitions, track upgrades and other items over the past several years to set up for a high-speed rail system operating at 120+mph.

Have you ever wondered how much it would change the face of Ohio? Maybe a Cincinnatian would attend a World Cup Qualifier in Columbus with only a short 1 hour 30 minute train ride. Maybe Cincinnatians would travel north, on a 2.5 hour train ride, to visit Lake Erie during the Summer months instead of taking the 12 hour car ride to Florida.

It makes a lot of sense given Ohio's population density, distribution and layout. It is one of the most densely populated regions/states in the entire nation and is set up extremely well for this kind of a rail system (Ohio Hub Maps/Plans/Details).

3-C Corridor in green

If you would like to see such a system become reality write to your state senator and representatives in Columbus and also drop your D.C. senator and representatives a line while you're at it. Let them know that this is Ohio's future and that you want them to take the political lead in bringing high-speed rail to Ohio.

Ohio is poised to get $8.2 billion from the stimulus plan approved today by President Obama. Of this only a portion will go to high-speed rail. Let your representatives know that a significant allocation, of these resources, should go to high-speed rail and that your vote depends on it.

Please share your thoughts on the system, and how you might use it once it's in place, in the comment section.

Watch a 1:21 long video about the Ohio Hub system

UPDATE: The FRA has designated ten high-speed corridors under section 1010 of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and Section 1103(c) of the Transportation Efficiency Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). Designation allows a corridor to receive specially targeted funding for highway-rail grade crossing safety improvements, and recognizes the corridor as a potential center of HSR activity.


Anonymous said...

An even better solution:

5chw4r7z said...

Isn't downtown C-Bus about 100 miles? that would be less than an hour minus the wait to board.
Depending on price, I could see doing trips to ShortNorth on odd Saturdays, and just think about OS fans, sleep it off on the way home after games instead of driving impaired.

Randy Simes said...

Yeah it's about 100 miles or so, but you have to factor in stops in Dayton and possibly Springfield. Furthermore, the train won't be booking it at 110mph through the cities themselves as speed will have to be reduced due to the population and amount of activity around (unless there is grade separation).

Keith said...

Don't get too excited about the decision to spend 8 billion on rail. It's my understanding that the entire 8 billion is for a rail line from Vegas to LA. Figure out the politics on that one.

I wish that we would have spent more on these types of infra projects rather than the "soft spending" that once in the budget, will never be cut out. My poor kids will be paying for this for a long time......

Randy Simes said...

^That's actually not true Keith. That is a myth perpetuated by the GOP members opposed to rail spending. It was their way of trying to mark the $8 billion allotment as "pork" spending.

A much better analysis is in the Politico article I linked to in the post. Check it out:

Randy Simes said...


I checked with the Executive Director of All Aboard Ohio and he states the following:

"The $8 billion in passenger rail funding will go to Amtrak, states seeking conventional-speed passenger rail projects and high-speed rail projects. There are no project-specific earmarks or firewalls between what should go for high-speed, or conventional-speed or Amtrak capital/infrastructure investments. That's a fortunate thing as the $8 billion wouldn't be able to pay for more than 50 miles of the Anaheim to Las Vegas "maglev" train. But it can build perhaps 2,500 miles of 110 mph passenger rail services and up to 8,000 miles of 79 mph passenger rail services nationwide, or a mix thereof.

Every state will have a fair shot to apply for the money. They must declare within 60 days what projects they want to use stimulus money on. But they don't have to obligate it to a project until September of 2012. Why is there such a helpfully long leash when other stimulus projects must be under contract in 120 days or less? Because Obama is less interested in a short-term economic kick from passenger rail. Instead, he wants to give passenger rail and high-speed rail nationwide every chance at a offering a long-term economic boost to our country. And you can't do that when your sole purpose is to build a Gamblers Express to Vegas."

BruceMcF said...

We need to get one of these lines up and running, but even better would be a system, because the additional trips at connections drive revenue.

I'd suggest Indiana and Ohio getting together and pushing for the Triple-C corridor, the Cincinnati / Indianapolis / Chicago corridor, and the Cleveland / Toledo / Fort Wayne / Chicago corridor. If we get that system up and running at 110mph, it would be able to generate operating surpluses, which could then be put into the state match for adding corridors to build up the entire Ohio Hub.

Erk Oak said...

100mi / 90 minutes = 66.7 mph

That is pitiful! You should not be supporting this without demanding at least 150mph, the speed of the TGV in France. I drive faster than 66 for goodness sake!

Unknown said...

And how does this benefit west central Ohio, northwest Ohio? How about the 4th Congressional district? Where is the job creation, and how long will jobs be retained? Is this like riding the train at Cedar Point (a novelty), or will it help with transportation needs of average citizens, and lessen our dependence on oil.

If I want to go to Cincinnati or Toledo on rail, it's a drive to a station. So why use rail when I could just finish the job by car? No savings.

If you study history, especially pre-WWII you'll note that we had a rail system that allowed for efficient transportation around all but one county in Ohio. So what makes anyone think that this is going to be used, and be profitable? I see this as a red herring.

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