Statewide Support for 3C Passenger Rail Plan strengthens Ohio’s Stimulus Application

3CisME.ohio.gov offers latest news and public comment

COLUMBUS (July 23, 2009) - To strengthen the state’s push for federal stimulus funds to provide passenger rail service to more Ohioans, the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) are calling upon citizens across the state to proclaim, “3C is Me!”

ORDC and ODOT have launched 3CisME.ohio.gov, an online portal to find the latest news and share public comments on Ohio's 3C "Quick Start" Passenger Rail Plan.

Ohio’s 3C Corridor will connect Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati as part of President Barack Obama’s nationally-prioritized Chicago Hub Network - which connects with Toledo, Louisville, Indianapolis and Chicago to the west.

With funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Ohio’s “Quick Start” plan would have initial conventional-speed service running by 2011, utilizing the safest, most efficient and cost-effective route, and putting travel choice in reach of more than 60 percent of Ohio’s population.

Ohio faces intense competition in securing its share of $8 billion in stimulus funds made available for passenger rail under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Earlier this month, ORDC and ODOT took an important step in that competition by filing a "pre-application" with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) outlining Ohio's 3C "Quick Start" Plan.

As of July 17, the FRA had received 278 pre-applications, covering 40 states and the District of Columbia, seeking $102 billion in funding. The U.S. Department of Transportation will make its funding decisions this fall. Ohio is seeking at least $250 million and up to $400 million for the 3C "Quick Start" Passenger Rail Plan.

As a part of the formal application for stimulus funding due by Oct. 1, ORDC and ODOT will use some of the public comments collected on the new 3CisME.ohio.gov. Some of the comments already recorded:

 “I have lived in Ohio for 7 years, but due to the lack of having a reliable vehicle (and currently without a vehicle at all) I haven't had much opportunity to visit other areas of the state, but this rail service may very well change all of that!”

“The possibility of the 3C is easily the most exciting, positive thing going on in Ohio today. It will add enormously to the state's quality of life and will better connect me to my family and friends across the state.”

“Several times per year, I have to travel to Columbus for meetings and training. Whenever I go now, I lose at least 5 hours of productivity per trip. On the train, I could use a laptop to keep up with my e-mail, tend to paperwork, have telephone conferences, and sometimes even meetings with coworkers. These things can't be done in a car.”

Strong coalitions from every region of the state have expressed in support for Ohio’s passenger rail plans, ranging from city leaders, sports teams, students, contractors, environmental organizations, labor, developers, chambers of commerce, and private businesses.

A March 2009 Quinnipiac University Poll showed 64 percent of Ohioans statewide favored re-establishing passenger rail in the 3C Corridor, with particularly strong support among men and women under the age of 25.

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For more information, contact Scott Varner, ODOT Central Office Communications, at (614) 644-8640or Stu Nicholson, Ohio Rail Development Commission, at (614) 644-0513.

 Additional information can be found at http://3CisME.ohio.gov

Please note: the website does not contain the typical ‘www’ prior to the address