COLUMBUS - State Reps. Adam C. Miller (D-Columbus) and Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) today introduced a resolution calling on Ohio to invest in passenger rail across the state and take an active role in the federal “Amtrak Connects US” plan.
“Improving passenger and commercial freight rail corridors is an important next phase in Ohio's workforce development campaign. Passenger rail positively impacts the economy, creates good-paying jobs, helps the environment and improves convenience,” said Rep. Miller. “It makes fiscal sense for Ohio to partner with the federal government and invest in this crucial infrastructure. Ohio must lead the charge for passenger rail, or face being left behind.”
“A forty-year career in the railroad industry has shown me how integral passenger rail is to Ohio’s transportation apparatus,” said Rep. Sheehy. “Passenger rail will increase the mobility of all Ohioans, especially underserved communities, and would have a substantial positive economic impact on the state. Other states are investing and looking forward. Ohio can’t just keep up, we must get ahead.”
The resolution calls on Ohio to:
• Restore regularly scheduled passenger rail service to the Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati Corridor;
• Increase train frequency by an estimated 22 trains per day in Cleveland and by an estimated 16 trains per day in Ohio cities like Toledo, Sandusky, Elyria, Ashtabula, Oxford, Bryan, Delaware, Crestline, Sharonville, Springfield and Alliance;
• Bridge preexisting transportation systems, including Cleveland’s RTA Light Rail System, Columbus’ COTA system, and Cincinnati’s Metro system;
• Connect colleges, universities and 18 Fortune 500 companies located across Ohio.
The resolution also urges Ohio’s Congressional delegation to support the current infrastructure efforts that provide full funding for the “Amtrak Connects US” plan and to facilitate this expansion by decreasing the minimum length a route must be to qualify for federal funding from 750 miles to 250 miles, making a route from Columbus or Cleveland to Chicago eligible for federal funding.
The recent infrastructure bill passed by Congress allocated $36 billion for state-federal partnerships for intercity passenger rail projects.
The resolution now awaits a number and committee assignment.