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Railway advocates say we’re closer than ever to getting Amtrak to connect Ohio. It comes after the state received planning grants from the federal government last month.

In December, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration selected four Ohio routes for feasibility studies:

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Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday said he is optimistic about the economic future of northwest Ohio, which is still looking for its Intel-like super-project.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Blade's editorial board and a reporter, the governor said an announcement could be coming soon about the 200-acre Wood County site that Peloton backed away from in 2022 after initially committing to a $400 million manufacturing facility.

The governor would not go into specifics on the deal, but Wood County property records show First Solar Inc. bought the building and surrounding land — about 100 acres total — for $33 million last week. The Tempe, Ariz.-based company, which later Wednesday confirmed it had purchased the building, has based much of its manufacturing, research, and development footprint in Wood County, with the Peloton purchase the latest addition.

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It's been a long wait for expanded passenger rail in Cincinnati — but it's getting somewhat closer.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently instructed the Ohio Rail Development Commission to apply for two $500,000 grants to study new rail corridors in the state. One of those would potentially run from Cincinnati through Dayton and Columbus to Cleveland.

Meanwhile, Amtrak wants to explore expanding its Cardinal line — which currently stops in Cincinnati a few times a week in the early morning hours — to serve the city multiple times a day. It's also applied for a grant from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to study that idea.

Those efforts are part of a larger push to connect Ohio and neighboring states via better passenger rail. But they're all in the beginning stages.

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