I'd also point out the as a city Columbus isn't project to do great among increase in millennial over the next 10 years. I know there has been growth among that age group downtown but that is more of a redistribution from the suburbs than actual growth.
On page 90 there is a break down of the 51 markets with statistics from the U.S. census and projections from Moody Analytics and PwC. The projected 10 yr growth of millennials for the entire is U.S. is about 10%. The projected growth in Columbus is 6%. So Columbus is well below the average. And Cleveland is -4% and Detroit is -12%. So basically our below average growth rate will be mainly people escaping nearby poor economies. Without the negative conditions in nearby cities Columbus would more than likely be flat or declining as well.
When you look at some of the other cities, you get Houston (21%), Denver (14%), Austin (25%), Raleigh/Durham (20%), Charlotte (15%).
I think the people fleeing the poorer performing cities is masking the larger structural and identity problems Columbus has. Without the help from these cities I think it would be apparent and create an environment more conducive to getting rail approved out of a need to at least keep pace.
I would like to point out that the population density of columbus exceeds austin and far exceeds charlotte and raleigh. Like to the tune of almost 1100 more people per square mile compared to charlotte. This narrative that millennials are flocking to the sun belt cities because they somehow have all these more urban walkable areas compared to columbus is a fallacy. They are going there for climate and jobs and it certainly doesn't hurt that you have at least 3 large universities in the raleigh durham region as well.I'm sure most people think walkable areas are great but if you don't have jobs then you better have something really awesome like the ocean or mountains or else people are going to show up and then leave.