Two corridors, Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati and Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit, are under preliminary consideration, ORDC said.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – In an effort to expand Ohio’s current Amtrak system, Governor Mike DeWine ordered Ohio Railroad Development Commission apply for the first phase of federal funding to study passenger rail.
“The information we gather from this effort will help us make informed decisions about federal opportunities for passenger rail in Ohio,” DeWine said.
Two corridors, Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati and Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit, are under preliminary consideration, ORDC said. If the bid is successful, the Federal Railroad Administration will provide $500,000 for each corridor.
“Under Governor DeWine’s direction, we have been talking with Amtrak for quite some time to explore options and gather information. Our work with Amtrak was necessary for the federal application, but this is only the first step,” said Matthew Dietrich, executive director of the Ohio Railroad Development Commission.
Approved federal funds will allow Ohio to hire a consultant to prepare a scope of work for the service development plan. This plan includes information on track improvements, equipment, stations and other facilities, operating costs, ridership and required government subsidies needed to start service.
This notification is the first step of the state to expand passenger rail services in the state. ORDC said the federal Corridor Identification and Development Program, signed into law by President Joe Biden in November 2021, will help the state evaluate potential intercity passenger rail corridors.
“The governor has made it very clear that to make this work in Ohio, it’s not just about cost,” Dietrich said. “It has to be done in a way that doesn’t disrupt freight rail traffic in the state, which is so important to our economy and our businesses.”
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U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown released the following statement in support of the governor’s decision:
“I applaud Governor DeWine and our regional leaders for starting the Amtrak expansion process. A bipartisan infrastructure law released billions of dollars so states like Ohio could expand passenger rail service. I am working with Secretary Buttigieg to make sure Ohio gets its fair share, if not more, and I hope the entire delegation will join me in supporting that effort. Expanding Amtrak into Ohio, whether along current routes or connecting Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati, would transform our state’s economy and improve mobility for all Ohioans. I will continue to fight to make Ohio transit more reliable and efficient so more Ohioans can access employment and education opportunities across the state.”