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Governor DeWine Says Yes. So What’s Next?

Updated: Feb 27

In the words of the legendary rapper Ice Cube, “It was a good day.”

February 8, 2023 was a “good day” for all of us who have advocated for more and better passenger rail under a plan announced over two years ago by Amtrak to expand service both nationally and in Ohio with its “Amtrak Connects Us” plan. It’s the day the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Ohio Governor Mike DeWine gave the go-ahead for the state to pursue Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) planning grants to determine if adding intercity passenger trains to Ohio’s transportation system is feasible.

If the studies of two corridors, Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati (3C&D) and Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit, can answer Governor DeWine’s questions about projected ridership, costs, and what needs to be done to put good service on the tracks from Day One, which should lead to federal grants to launch the actual construction and development of service.

So, what do we as passenger rail and public transit supporters do now?

First, savor the win. It was a long time coming. It’s what happens when motivated advocates keep an issue alive and make sure our state’s leaders know WE aren’t giving up and neither should they. Thank you to all of you who kept up the pressure by letting the Governor and his transportation staff know we need a better-connected Ohio and Great Lakes region, and they need to work to make it happen.

Second, be grateful and say thank you. Being an advocate means being a thorn in someone’s side at times. But i