Ohio Taking First Step in Expanding Passenger Rail Service

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Gov. Mike DeWine has directed the Ohio Rail Development Commission to apply for the first phase of funding to study expanding passenger rail service in Ohio.

The Federal Railroad Administration’s Corridor Identification and Development program would assist the state in assessing potential intercity passenger rail corridors.

“This is the first step of many in this process,” DeWine said. “We have a lot of questions that need to be answered before we make any commitments. The information we gather from this effort will help us make informed decisions about federal opportunities for passenger rail in Ohio.”

The state has identified two corridors to advance for consideration: Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati and Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit.

If the application is successful, the Federal Railroad Administration would provide $500,000 per corridor. The funds would allow Ohio to bring in a consultant to prepare a scope of work for a Service Development Plan. This would be a comprehensive plan that includes information about the track improvements, equipment, stations and other facilities, operating costs, ridership and required state subsidy that are needed to start service.

“Under Gov. DeWine’s direction, we have been talking with Amtrak for quite some time to explore options and gather information,” said Matthew Dietrich, Executive Director of the Ohio Rail Development Commission. “Our work with Amtrak was necessary for a federal application, but it is just the first step. The governor has been very clear that for this to work for Ohio, it is not just a matter of cost. It has to be done in a way that does not impede freight rail traffic in the state that is so important to our economy and our businesses.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.