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MAYORS, CITIES AND PLANNING AGENCIES COMMIT TO RECONNECTING OHIO WITH PASSENGER RAIL

Columbus, OH – In a broad display of support for passenger rail service in Ohio, a bi-partisan coalition of Ohio mayors along with several of Ohio’s regional planning agencies have formally requested the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)to include a list of Ohio rail lines in its Corridor Identification Program.


Regional planning commissions and cities are eligible to later apply for FRA grants to develop these corridors for actual passenger service. Their “Expressions of Interest” are an important step in getting official federal recognition of existing and future passenger rail corridors in and through Ohio.


Amtrak first proposed a major expansion of service nationally and in Ohio in January of 2021 with its “Amtrak Connects Us” plan. But the list of corridors being sent to the FRA includes several additional routes not yet on Amtrak’s visionary map.


“We cannot think of a stronger show of support for passenger rail in Ohio,” says All Aboard Ohio Executive Director Stu Nicholson. “These are both big and small city Ohio Mayors and the state’s foremost transportation planning agencies telling Amtrak and the FRA they recognize the social, economic, and workforce benefits that a connected system of intercity passenger trains can bring the Buckeye State and the region around us.”


Ohio Governor Mike DeWine earlier this year ordered the Ohio Rail Development Commission to begin extensive rail corridor studies to determine what’s needed to upgrade them for passenger rail and the estimated service development costs.


“We hope this not only prompts a more public display of support from the Governor’s office”, says Nicholson, “but also demonstrates to members of the Ohio General Assembly that there is broad and deep support for adding intercity passenger rail service to Ohio transportation portfolio. If Ohio wants to continue to grow its economy, expand existing business, new employers and jobs, and develop a larger, more mobile workforce we must this forward with faster, more frequent trains that connect with local transit options in our cities.”


Leadership by both the Governor and state legislators will be important to support the pursuit of federal grants and develop funding for a state match. Typically, FRA grants require a 20% state match. Under the new Infrastructure Act, that match can include funding from regional planning agencies, city and county governments, and even private sector partners as well as from the State of Ohio.


The corridors listed by the MPOs and Mayors for official inclusion in the FRA Corridor ID program include:

  • Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati (3C&D)

  • Chicago-Fort Wayne-Lima-Columbus-Pittsburgh (Midwest Connect)

  • Detroit-Toledo-Columbus

  • Columbus-Lancaster-Logan-Athens

  • Columbus-Chillicothe-Portsmouth-Northern Kentucky

  • Cleveland-Elyria-Sandusky-Toledo-Bryan-Chicago

  • Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit

  • Cleveland-Buffalo-Rochester-NYC

  • Cleveland-Pittsburgh-Philadelphia-NYC

  • Cleveland-Washington DC

All Aboard Ohio is a 501-C3 non-profit, member-based organization dedicated to promoting more and better intercity passenger rail service and public transit throughout the state. All Aboard Ohio supports the innovation and development of a balanced transportation system that provides viable mobility choices to all Ohioans.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Stu Nicholson at 614-439-8546 or stu@allaboardohio.org.

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