Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cincinnati supports 3-C passenger rail

Cincinnati City Council has passed a resolution of support for Amtrak intercity passenger rail connecting the City with Dayton, Columbus, and Cleveland, also known as the 3-C Corridor.

The resolution also requests that Cincinnati should be included in any initial service, likely a connection between Cincinnati and Columbus.

Councilmember Chris Monzel cast the lone dissenting vote.

The Ohio Rail Development Coalition and Amtrak are currently anayzing ridership projections and operating costs, and estimates are that the first trains could run somewhere in the state as soon as the end of next year.

Just last week, interim executive director Ken Prendergast of public transportation and passenger rail advocacy group All Aboard Ohio said that Ohio could save millions of general fund dollars by funding the 3-C Corridor with federal dollars.

According to his organization's analysis, federally-funded passenger train service could free up state general funds dedicated to employee travel expenses, which could then be redirected for education, vocational training, and other beneficial programs.

If 50 state employees took the train each day in the corridor, the state could save $2.3 million per year, Prendergast says.

U.S. Department of Commerce data shows that a $100 million investment in the 3-C corridor would create 2,400 new jobs with an increase in annual incomes of $50 million.

The 3-C plan is also seen as the logical first step to the more comprehensive Ohio Hub system, a $3 billion-$4 billion transit project composed of high-speed trains running along 1,244 miles of track serving 46 stations.

Photo credit: "Northbound Amtrak" by reivax, courtesy of Flickr.

Previous reading on BC:
Cincinnati EDC to consider resolution of support for Ohio passenger rail service (2/23/09)
All Aboard Ohio: Stimulus bill may ignore Ohio's train and transit needs (1/21/09)