Draft State Rail Plan Approved by ORDC Commissioners
Projects to upgrade Eastern Ohio rail line and buy cleaner locomotives also okayed
Columbus (Friday, May 14, 2010) – With one Commissioner calling it “a living document”, Ohio’s draft State Rail Plan was approved Thursday by ORDC Commissioners and will be submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration to meet a new FRA requirement for any future rail funding.
In 2008, the US Congress passed the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act with the expressed intent of improving passenger rail service in the United States. One of the features of the legislation is the requirement that any state seeking federal assistance for either passenger or freight improvements have an updated state rail plan. Federal guidelines for rail plans require that states attempt to accomplish the following objectives through their plan process. These objectives are to:
· Broaden the understanding of rail issues for all stakeholders;
· Define the role of railroads in a multimodal environment;
· Identify infrastructure and other improvements required to improve rail service;
· Provide a framework to implement rail improvement initiatives
· Develop methodologies to measure public and private benefits of rail improvements; and.
· Provide support and justification for federal and other rail funding.
Commissioner Barbara Bennett, who chairs the ORDC’s Long-Term Strategy & Economic Development Committee, describes the State Rail Plan as a “fact-finding” document the state will use to create a vision of how people and freight should move safely and efficiently by rail in Ohio. She told fellow Commissioners that the plan meets the minimum FRA requirements for one tool to identify and advance future rail projects. In addition, planning efforts will continue in order to create a cost/benefit tool to identify and quantify economic development, environmental and many other public interest impacts for rail project prioritization and rail funding requests.
The current version State Rail Plan is available on the web. Once a final edited version is ready for printing, it will be posted to the ORDC website.
In other actions, Commissioners approved the following:
- Rehabilitation of the RJ Corman “Cleveland Line” to raise track speeds between Warwick, Dover & Uhrichsville: a line that serves rail-dependent shippers employing over 600 people. ORDC will provide up to $187,910 for the project to match identical funds from the railroad.
- Administer a $2,624,526 CMAQ grant from the OKI Council of Governments for the purchase of two EPA-compliant Tier 3 “gen-set” locomotives for the Central Railroad of Indiana, which serves Cincinnati via Shelbyville, Indiana. Re-powered locomotives will greatly reduce diesel emissions. The railroad will contribute $656,132 toward the purchase.
- Grant of $350,000 to the Licking County Engineer to replace a deteriorated bridge over the state-owned Panhandle Line. The bridge provides the sole access to a property off of Marne Road in Licking County. The Ohio Central Railroad and county will provide in-kind services for the project.
For more information contact: at 614-644-0513
Stu Nicholson, ORDC Communications,