Thursday, February 14, 2013

Study: In Midwest, Ohio has more than 25 percent of companies that would benefit from high-speed rail

A new study by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) suggests that Ohio would benefit the most among Midwest states by the development of a regional or national high-speed rail system.

The study profiled manufacturers and supply chain companies in the Midwest that are ready to begin making parts and putting people to work improving existing rail systems in the United States. Of the 460 such companies identified, Ohio has 122 of them, besting Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa.

Nationally, this job sector is growing and the "Rust Belt's" underutilized manufacturing capacity is well-positioned to take advantage.

Cincinnati companies identified by the study include Cliffe Metal Products, Crown Lift Trucks, Fechheimer Brothers, Piedmont Plastics, and Siemens.

"Manufacturers across the heartland stand ready to build a 21st century transportation system for America," ELPC Deputy Director Kevin Brubaker said in a prepared release. "By investing in high-speed rail, we can revitalize manufacturing, increase mobility, create jobs and reduce pollution."

Under the current administration of Gov. John Kasich, passenger rail has not been a priority. One of his first measures was the return of $15 million in federal stimulus funding for development of the 3C Corridor, which would have provided passenger rail service to an estimated 478,000 passengers annually between Cincinnati and Cleveland.

No support for passenger rail exists within the next two years of the Ohio Department of Transportation budget.

A 2010 study by the Ohio Rail Development Commission estimated that 26,000 Ohio residents were employed in the rail supply chain.

The Midwest Regional Rail Initiative recommends a 3,000-mile hub-and-spoke system of trains radiating out of Chicago, serving approximately 27 million people in cities within a 400-mile radius. Trains would travel at at least 100 miles per hour, reducing travel times between cities by between 30 and 50 percent.

"So Ohioans will build 'em, we just can’t ride 'em, unless we go to stations in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin or Missouri." said Ken Prendergast, executive director of passenger rail advocacy organization All Aboard Ohio.

Founded in 1993, ELPC is a public advocacy and eco-business innovation nonprofit sponsored by seven major foundations to support sustainability efforts in the Midwest.

Previous reading on BC:
Porcari: High-speed rail winners must 'have their act together' (5/10/10)
EACC passenger rail conference brings praise, outlines strategies (5/10/10)
Implications of 3C, high-speed passenger rail subject of EACC conference (4/26/10)
EACC to hold public transportation conference here (4/6/10)
Cincinnati to apply for federal transportation grants (4/1/10)