The Rail Grade Separation Program developed under the
direction of Governor Taft is a 10-year, $200 million program led by Ohio
Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Ohio Rail Development Commission
(ORDC). The program will address safety, mobility and economic development
concerns from Ohios local communities and elected leaders.
In 1999 the Ohio Legislature mandated ORDC, the Ohio
Emergency Management Agency and the Public Utilities Commission conduct a
study of assessment needs, prioritization and funding for grade separations.
The study found approximately 40 Ohio grade crossing sites have at least 30
trains and 1,000 vehicles each day.
During two application periods, ODOT has received
77 applications totaling approximately $475
million. To date 15 projects totaling
$70 million have
been selected for funding and an additional 15
projects totaling $94 million remain in Tier
II. The remaining 44 projects totaling $253 million have been placed in Tier
III. The tier structure is as follows:
Projects that have a completed
feasibility study approved by the TRAC subcommittee outlining project
complexity, cost, environmental impacts, community and railroad support and
permanency of the project and have been designated for construction funding.
Tier II Projects identified for further
development and feasibility studies. These projects meet the goals of the
program, but more information relative to project complexity, cost,
environmental impacts, and community and railroad support is needed before
funding is designated. Placement in Tier II does not guarantee a project
will be constructed. If the results of the feasibility study indicate there
are excessive costs relative to benefits, excessive environment and
community impacts, or otherwise lack of feasibility, the project will be
placed into Tier III for no further development.
Tier III Projects identified for no further
development due to failure to satisfy program goals, initial estimates of
excessive cost, environmental and/or community impacts or a general lack of
A subcommittee of ODOTs Transportation Review Advisory
Council (TRAC) including Director Proctor, and TRAC Jerry Hruby, Donald
Jakeway and Charles Gerhardt. reviewed the applications and placed them into
one of the three tiers, similar to the TRAC process.
The criteria in the project selection included: train
frequency, traffic volume, impacts on the community, lack of nearby
alternative routes to avoid train blockages, safety and public service
impacts and project costs.
While a priority for Governor Taft, ODOT, ORDC and local
communities, these projects will not be easy to construct. Issues include
maintaining rail traffic and existing community development during project