Ohio’s 3C “Quick Start” Passenger Rail Plan:
Ohio Submits Strong Application for
‘Premier Passenger Rail Corridor’
COLUMBUS (Thursday, October 1, 2009) - With statewide support stretching across public and private sectors, the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Rail Development Commission today began the process of submitting the state’s federal application for the Ohio 3C “Quick Start” Passenger Rail Plan, calling it one of the strongest contenders for stimulus funding.
“The 3C Corridor is Ohio’s premier intercity passenger rail corridor that touches 60% of all Ohioans who live within 15 miles of the corridor,” said ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris. “The corridor is tailor-made for short distance service, and it is one of the best opportunities anywhere in the nation to bring this type of travel choice to those who currently do not have it.”
“Development of passenger rail along the 3C Corridor not only creates jobs, it spurs economic development in our urban cities. Linking Ohio’s downtown areas encourages travel to and within our state, allowing people to easily shop in our stores, eat at local restaurants, and explore downtown entertainment - both as visitors and as residents on their way to and from work, school and home,” said Ohio Department of Development Director Lisa Patt-McDaniel.
Director Molitoris and Director Patt-McDaniel joined ORDC Executive Director Matt Dietrich at rallies in Columbus and Cleveland to officially begin Ohio’s application submission, seeking a share of $8 billion in federal passenger rail funds made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Starting today, Ohio will begin uploading its application information to the Federal Railroad Administration, meeting the October 2nd deadline for stimulus fund. The application details the state’s plans for investing, constructing, and operating a passenger rail service corridor that would serve an estimated 478,000 passengers based on projections by Amtrak, the nation’s largest passenger rail service provider.
Updated to reflect the latest cost estimates, ridership and revenue projections, and extensive technical study, Ohio’s stimulus application requests $236.2 million for capacity additions; $36.5 million for track upgrades; $32 million for grade crossing upgrades; $29.1 million for stations; $55 million for train maintenance and layover facilities; and $175 million for five equipment (train sets). The costs for capacity additions, track upgrades, and train maintenance and layover facilities include a 30 percent construction cost contingency; the cost for stations includes a 20 percent contingency.
Ohio’s 3C “Quick Start” Plan - connecting Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati with medium speed 79 mph passenger trains - has drawn unprecedented support from citizens and elected officials, business owners and organized labor, sports teams and universities.
Among the highlights of Ohio’s 3C “Quick Start” application that make it stand out from other states:
Large Unmet Passenger Demand: Forecasts suggest that the 3C travel market is as strong, and possibly stronger than many of the other U.S. corridor markets currently served by Amtrak. Based on ridership projections, the 3C “Quick Start” service would rank as the nation’s 12th largest generator of passenger rail traffic.
Single Complete Package: Unlike other proposals that rely on corridors crossing state lines, the 3C “Quick Start” Plan identifies a 250-mile “direct route” all within Ohio’s borders, along the most efficient, cost-effective, and safest direct line of service, with six stops in downtown locations in Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati, as well as stops in west Cleveland and northern Hamilton County. The application also indentifies potential stops, including Springfield and the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Riverside.
Strong Financial Plan: The application requests $564 million in 100% federal stimulus funds, an amount covering needed investments in infrastructure, station stops, and equipment to meet ridership demand, maximize market response, and minimize initial operating costs. The plan also identified the minimum amount of construction needed along existing freight rail routes to maximize capacity for fluid freight and passenger operations, including the identification of segments requiring only one-time track upgrading.
“Quick Start” Action and Results: Capital improvements will result in immediate short-term construction jobs for up to 360 workers over a two year period. The 3C Corridor presents new service opportunities to eleven of Ohio's federally-designated economically distressed counties. The 3C “Quick Start” Service would also offer the most significant and visible change in transportation choice in the Midwest, with service running as early as 2011 or 2012, depending on how quickly the federal government makes its decision.
Ohio’s application also includes the results of an advanced Environmental Assessment and public outreach efforts, which included several public meetings, more than 100 official letters of support and resolutions, and more than 8,000 online surveys completed on 3CisMe.ohio.gov, the state’s online portal for passenger rail information.
“A modern transportation system that includes passenger rail service enhances the quality of life for those in its proximity, revitalizes our cities and boosts the economic development and growth potential of a region,” wrote Phil Parker, President and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, in a letter of support sent to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“We need the type of jobs in Ohio that this rail transformation project would create,” offered Joseph P. Rugola, President of the Ohio AFL-CIO. “Our skilled trades workforce is highly productive and works hand-in-hand with business and government. We are ready to get to work to enhance Ohio’s transportation options and build a quality, first class system that taxpayers and users will be proud of.”
“As the president of The Ohio State University, I am privileged to see first-hand the abilities and dedication of the next generation of college graduates. Ohio’s plan for passenger rail in the region will provide a critical physical link to enhance the development of the emerging knowledge economy,” endorsed Dr. E. Gordon Gee, President of The Ohio State University.
"Transportation investment in this region is critical for our progress in creating sustainable communities and improving our regional economy,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “If the funding is secured for this important infrastructure project, it will help communities throughout the State of Ohio connect with Cleveland’s unique location providing a direct path to the global economy."
“Ohio’s plan would build a foundation for economic competitiveness in some of our state’s most economically-distressed cities. These urban cores represent Ohio’s centers of commerce, education and research, all of which can be better connected to a ready and mobile workforce with passenger rail,” wrote Joe Marinucci, President and CEO of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.
Ohio’s application is also made strong by the landmark support from other Midwest states. As part of the Midwest Passenger Rail Steering Group, Ohio’s application comes with the endorsement of Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Minnesota, and Indiana - as well as the City of Chicago. In return, Ohio is supporting the applications of those states and the region’s collective high-speed rail priorities.
For more information, contact Scott Varner, ODOT Communications, at (614) 644-8640
or Stu Nicholson, Ohio Rail Development Commission, at (614) 644-0513.
Once submitted, a copy of Ohio’s 3C “Quick Start” stimulus application - along with additional information and downloadable video and audio from today’s events - can be found at: http://3CisME.ohio.gov