Hello fellow transit and rail advocates,
If you care about passenger rail in Ohio, now is the time to pay attention.
I was asked to introduce myself as a relatively new board member of All Aboard Ohio to our members. Some of you may already know me. I spent more than a
decade leading a statewide transit coalition of diverse stakeholders. As you probably already know, we have underinvested in public transportation, both as a state and as a nation, for nearly a century. In the meantime, nearly all of our taxpayer dollars go towards roads and highways making it nearly impossible to get by without a car. As you also likely know, cars are expensive to own, operate and maintain. Often, prohibitively expensive for Ohio’s low-income families. For the elderly and people with disabilities they may not be an option at all. Public transportation, including passenger rail, is not only a more affordable transportation alternative, significant investments in alternative modes of transportation can create good jobs such as laying rail while also offering a more environmentally-friendly and efficient way to move people and goods.
This is why I joined the board of All Aboard Ohio. We are at a potential transformational moment. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to alter the trajectory of our state’s transportation system to finally recognize passenger rail and other forms of public transportation as important components of Ohio’s transportation system. President Bident signed into law a series of bills I refer to as the federal climate infrastructure package that include unprecedented investments in rail. Much work needs to be done, however, to bring any of these federal resources to Ohio.
It’s an all hands on deck moment for passenger rail enthusiasts.
Amanda Woodrum is the Co-Director of ReImagine Appalachia, a four-state coalition of diverse stakeholder groups working together to find common ground and create a more sustainable, equitable and prosperous Appalachia. She has a master’s degree in economics and law degree from the University of Akron in Ohio. Over the past 15 years or so, she has conducted research, advocacy and coalition building around the role energy, transportation, health, labor and anti-poverty policy can play to promote a more sustainable and equitable economy. In addition to serving on the board of All Aboard Ohio, she also serves on the University of Akron’s Dept. of Economics Advisory Board. After living in New York City and experiencing 9/11, she returned to Ohio determined to make the state and the region the kind of place she wanted to live.