Monday, December 14, 2009

ODOT analysis says 3C 'Quick Start' within 10 miles of 220K college students

More than 220,000 college and university students live within 10 miles of the Ohio's proposed "Quick Start" passenger rail service, according to an analysis by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).

The 250-mile rail corridor, which would connect Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland via existing rail lines, would run near 40 of the state's colleges and universities, including The Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati, the state's two largest with more than 89,000 students.

ODOT says that the service can provide students with access to internships, research studies, and recreation opportunities.

"Research shows that students and young professionals demand better travel choices," said ODOT director Jolene Molitoris. "Passenger rail provides this choice and enhances connections to the urban areas where our young professionals and students desire to live, learn and work."

While AAA estimates that it costs 54 cents per mile to own and maintain a motor vehicle, fares between Midwest cities on Amtrak average 14 cents per mile.

ODOT and the Ohio Rail Development Coalition estimate that the average cost of a one-way ticket from Cincinnati to Columbus will be $18, and a one-way ticket from Columbus to Cleveland will average $20.

Both groups estimate that "Quick Start" will attract 478,000 riders per year.

Last October, the state applied for $564 million in federal economic stimulus funds to start the service, and expects to hear about possible funding early next year.

University of Cincinnati's board of trustees passed a resolution of support for the "Quick Start" plan on September 22.

Photo credit: "College graduate students" by Flickr user Kit, courtesy of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

Previous reading on BC:
State rail agencies studying development around six 'Quick Start' stations (12/7/09)
State rail group recommends DMUs for 3C 'Quick Start' (12/2/09)
State, county organizations support passenger rail (10/5/09)
Report: 3C 'Quick Start' could save Ohioans $36M per year, pay off in five years (9/29/09)
Caution, communication needed in 3C Corridor choices (8/6/09)