Ohio’s 3C “Quick Start” Passenger Rail Plan Gets Fans Quick
Fans on Facebook and Online Polling Show Growing Support
COLUMBUS (Tuesday, September 22, 2009) - Like a virtual train quickly filling up with passengers, Ohio’s 3C “Quick Start” Passenger Rail Plan is quickly growing an online fan base well before the first trains run.
On September 14, the Ohio Department of Transportation - in partnership with the Ohio Rail Development Commission - launched the department’s first trial run with the nation’s largest internet social networking site Facebook, starting with a page featuring the 3C “Quick Start” Passenger Rail Plan.
In the short time since the launch, the 3C “Quick Start” page is on track to have at least a thousand Facebook subscribers become “3C Plan fans.”
“Social networking sites such as Facebook are increasingly becoming a very useful tool in sharing information, especially among our younger populations,” said ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris. “It would send a great message to Washington if we could get two-thousand or more fans before we submit our application to the Federal Railroad Administration for stimulus funding on October 2nd.”
Ohio’s 3C “Quick Start” Plan - connecting Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati with medium speed 79 mph passenger trains - is a strong contender for stimulus funding. With the funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Ohio’s “Quick Start” plan would have initial service running as early as 2011.
A recently released ridership and revenue study prepared by Amtrak estimated that 478,000 passengers would board the train each year in Ohio, due in large part to a pent-up demand for passenger rail travel and the unique opportunity to connect with more than 60 percent of the state’s population.
“The concentration of colleges and universities along the corridor is another major component for success,” the Amtrak report said. “Historically, throughout its national system, Amtrak has enjoyed steady ridership support from college students.”
Facebook fans of the 3C “Quick Start” Plan range from college students and young professionals to business and community leaders, including members of the Ohio General Assembly - State Senator Jason Wilson (Senate Dist. 30) and State Representatives Michael Skindell (House Dist. 13) and W. Carlton Weddington (House Dist.27).
At the same time, more than 7,000 people have responded to an online survey at 3CisMe.ohio.gov, the state’s online portal for passenger rail information. In the month since the survey has been active, more than 93 percent of respondents favor the medium-speed passenger rail start-up plan.
For more information, contact Scott Varner, ODOT Communications, at (614) 644-8640
or Stu Nicholson, Ohio Rail Development Commission, at (614) 644-0513.
Additional information - including a copy of the Amtrak study - can be found at http://3CisME.ohio.gov