World Car Free Day highlights need for True Travel Choice in Ohio
Transit Agencies in Ohio throw support behind State’s Passenger Rail Plan
COLUMBUS (Tuesday, September 22, 2009) - On the same day people from around the globe contemplate life without cars, Ohio’s transit agencies are celebrating World Car Free Day by calling for federal support of Ohio’s 3C “Quick Start” Passenger Rail Plan.
Members of the Ohio Public Transit Association (OPTA), which represents the sixty public transit systems in Ohio, shared support of the 3C “Quick Start” Plan at an event in Columbus with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.
“The 3C ‘Quick Start’ plan will act as the ribbon that completes a seamless method of travel to, within, and through Ohio’s cities. We are pleased to support this project which will bring new jobs and prosperity to our state,” said Mark Donaghy, Executive Director of the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority and Vice-President of OPTA.
“Passenger rail is one option for travel that currently isn’t available to many Ohioans, although estimates show that nearly a half-million riders would board 3C trains each year if they were operating today,” Governor Strickland said. “I am excited that Ohio’s transportation partners are supportive of a passenger rail system for our state and understand passenger rail’s positive impacts on quality of life and economic development.”
Governor Strickland joined Secretary LaHood, Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy, Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman and ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris on a tour of construction sites at two Central Ohio Transit Authority facilities, both of which are receiving funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
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. ODOT and the Ohio Rail Development Commission will submit an ARRA application for the 3C “Quick Start” Plan by the Federal Railroad Administration’s October 2nd deadline.
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 the unique opportunity to connect with more than 60 percent of the state’s population.
World Car Free Day was established in 2000 as a grassroots movement by the World Car Free Network to coincide with the European Mobility Week. It has grown to involve official and unofficial participants in over 1,000 cities in 40 countries, according to the organization’s internet site.
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
More information on World Car Free Day can be found online at www.worldcarfree.net.