3C Corridor “Quick Start” Submitted for Stimulus
On Thursday morning, ODOT and the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) rallied in the Arena District for the submission of the application of the Ohio 3C “Quick Start” Passenger Rail Plan, seeking federal stimulus dollars marked for passenger rail development throughout the country. “The 3C Corridor is Ohio’s premier intercity passenger rail corridor that touches 60% of all Ohioans who live within 15 miles of the corridor,” said ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris. “The corridor is tailor-made for short distance service, and it is one of the best opportunities anywhere in the nation to bring this type of travel choice to those who currently do not have it.”
“Development of passenger rail along the 3C Corridor not only creates jobs, it spurs economic development in our urban cities,” said Ohio Department of Development Director Lisa Patt-McDaniel. “The 3C will link Ohio’s downtown areas, encourage travel to and within our state, allow people to easily shop in our stores, eat at local restaurants, and explore downtown entertainment – both as visitors and as residents on their way to and from work, school and home.”
Ohio’s stimulus application requests $236.2 million for capacity additions; $36.5 million for track upgrades; $32 million for grade crossing upgrades; $29.1 million for stations; $55 million for train maintenance and layover facilities; and $175 million for five equipment (train sets).
Among the highlights of Ohio’s 3C “Quick Start” application that make it stand out from other states:
Large Unmet Passenger Demand: Forecasts suggest that the 3C travel market is as strong, and possibly stronger than many of the other U.S. corridor markets currently served by Amtrak. Based on ridership projections, the 3C “Quick Start” service would rank as the nation’s 12th largest generator of passenger rail traffic.
Single Complete Package: Unlike other proposals that rely on corridors crossing state lines, the 3C “Quick Start” Plan identifies a 250-mile “direct route” all within Ohio’s borders, along the most efficient, cost-effective, and safest direct line of service, with six stops in downtown locations in Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati, as well as stops in west Cleveland and northern Hamilton County. The application also indentifies potential tops, including Springfield and the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Riverside.
Strong Financial Plan: The application requests $564 million in 100% federal stimulus funds, an amount covering needed investments in infrastructure, station stops, and equipment (along with construction cost contingencies) to meet high ridership demand, maximize market response, and minimize initial operating costs. The plan also identifies the minimum amount of construction needed along existing freight rail routes to maximize capacity for fluid freight and passenger operations, including the identification of segments requiring only one-time track upgrading.
“Quick Start” Action and Results: Capital improvements will result in immediate short-term construction jobs for up to 360 workers over a two year period. The 3C Corridor presents new service opportunities to eleven of Ohio’s federally-designated economically distressed counties. The 3C “Quick Start” Service would also offer the most significant and visible change in transportation choice in the Midwest, with service running as early as 2011 or 2012, depending on how quickly the federal government makes its decision.
“As the president of The Ohio State University, I am privileged to see first-hand the abilities and dedication of the next generation of college graduates. Ohio’s plan for passenger rail in the region will provide a critical physical link to enhance the development of the emerging knowledge economy,” endorsed Dr. E. Gordon Gee, President of The Ohio State University.
Ohio’s application is also made strong by the landmark support from other Midwest states. As part of the Midwest Passenger Rail Steering Group, Ohio’s application comes with the endorsement of Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Minnesota, and Indiana – as well as the City of Chicago. In return, Ohio is supporting the applications of those states and the region’s collective high-speed rail priorities.