High-speed rail proposal for Ohio picks up steam

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The proposal to expand Amtrak service across Ohio is starting to gain momentum.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine asked the Ohio Rail Development Commission to explore the feasibility and cost of expanding Amtrak.

Amtrak proposed the 3C+D corridor, which would link Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton, with the potential for future out-of-state expansion to cities like Chicago and Pittsburgh.

A similar proposal was rejected over a decade ago by then-Governor John Kasich, who cited maintenance costs as the reason.

Proponents say this time around is different, as the project would be funded by federal infrastructure dollars.

“The bipartisan federal infrastructure law addresses funding challenges in a way we’ve never seen before,” said William Murdock, executive director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. “So it can pay for a significant part of the capital expenditure to build the tracks and upgrade them so that we can put trains on them, but it can also help with the operating costs, and that means we have a time here where federal investment can really get things done quickly and that’s the window we’re trying not to miss.

The state’s study on the proposal is expected to last until the end of this year before the findings are presented to the governor.

Jose P. Rogers