So often, when we think about passenger rail advocacy, we think about the voters, supporters, riders, those that need more and better access to transportation, as well as the legislators that can make passenger rail a reality in Ohio. One group that is often overlooked and should be front and center is the businesses and communities along the corridors that connect the cities in Ohio. There are so many benefits to having intercity transportation options that Arun Rao, director of network development for Amtrak, said he was encouraged by Ohio’s prospects, calling the Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati corridor “a textbook case where intercity passenger rail can be commercially viable.”
As you may be aware, in February Governor DeWine approved the Ohio Rail Development Commission’s application for the first phase of funding to study expanding passenger rail service in Ohio for two corridors, the Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati and Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit corridors. Additional applications were submitted by several MPOs throughout the state requesting studies for additional corridors as well.
As advocates and supporters of passenger rail in Ohio, we must learn to speak to the local business communities and business owners to share the benefits that come with passenger rail as a transportation option, while encouraging them to write letters of support to our legislators and join us in our advocacy efforts.
This is great for Ohio in that it provides:
Jobs/ Workforce Development - Each $1 billion invested in fast, frequent passenger rail supports about 24,000 jobs.
Manufacturing - Ohio is home to 146 companies in the rail supply chain that already support 23,000 jobs. They will be helping manufacture the next generation of passenger rail equipment.
Productivity - Rail passengers can use travel time to work rather than fight highway traffic.
Improved Connectivity – For 20% of Ohioans who do not own a car, air travel is an increasing hassle, and many more Ohioans do not wish to drive long distances (even to visit family).
Economic growth - A recent U.S. Conference of Mayors study found that, by 2035, a higher-speed rail line through Los Angeles alone would create $7.6 billion in related sales; a line through Chicago would create $6.1 billion; a line through Albany, $2.5 million.
Good for Ohio Business - To attract the jobs and workers of tomorrow, Ohio must provide transportation options to compete. The Columbus Partnership, Columbus and Cincinnati Chambers of Commerce, Downtown Cleveland Alliance, and many more business leaders support Ohio’s expansion of passenger rail.
Not to mention- Tourism, attendance benefits to sports teams, college student and parent travel, and other peripheral benefits of intercity passenger rail.
This is why I ask you as an All-Aboard Ohio Member to make an effort to reach out to the businesses in our communities and share the good news! If you have any ideas or requests about business outreach, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Aboard Ohio