Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ohio about to learn whether it gets its choo-choo.

From Monday's Columbus Dispatch:
Ohio has plenty of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package left to spend in 2010, but it's the big prize that hangs in the balance: the prospects of landing funds for a marquee train project.

For now, the state, will give rebates to people who buy new, energy-efficient appliances; it will begin work on a massive new bridge for downtown Cleveland; and it plans to finish high-profile projects to improve drinking water in rural areas.

Still up for grabs is $8 billion in stimulus money that Obama has set aside for high-speed passenger rail projects. By late January, the Federal Rail Administration will decide if Ohio gets $564 million for a 79-mph, startup train service connecting Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati.

79-mph? Ha!

Unfortunately, the Dispatch fails to remind us that the average MPH for the Ohio Choo-Choo Express will be a mindnumbingly slow 39mph. That means a trip from Cincy to Columbus would take nearly three and a half hours.

I can't stress how badly I want Ohio to lose this stimulus grant.

With excruciatingly long travel times combined with a total and complete lack of demand from commuters, this is one government-run project that will be doomed to yearly bailouts - and that money will come straight from the Ohio taxpayer.

With the potential for a $9 billion shortfall in the coming budget, that's another financial smackdown that the state can't handle.

Fortunately, legit rail studies like that done by pro-rail urban planning group America 2050 surmised that the Cincy-Columbus-Cleveland connection should be far down in priority.

So unless the President wants to make sure Strickland gets another treat in his federal goodie bag, Ohio should come up losers.

Which makes everyone winners.

By the way, with "plenty of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package left to spend in 2010", I don't think "stimulus" means what the President thinks it means.


  1. Actually, the report shows that of over 27,000 ranked routes between two cities, Columbus, Cinci, and Cleveland are in 8 of the top 50. The report definitely does not suggest that the Three C route is "far down in priority", although it does suggest it should not be up for this initial rail stimulus. In fact, the Three C route is one of the major routes mentioned in the report, placed into the third tier of building a national rail service. As to your suggestion that there is no demand, I'm sorry, but you need more than three screen caps of the highway to make that inference. To my knowledge, there has not been a legitimate study regarding demand for rail service in Ohio...if you can find one that backs up your claim, I'd be interested to see it.

  2. Check it again. There are zero connections between any combination of the two in the top 50.

    It does state that connections between the three should be in Phase 3 of their plan. Which is the last phase. Which means "far down in priority".

    As for proving demand, that's simple.

    There is this thing called capitalism. When something is in demand by the public, it's built by a business so they can provide a service and profit.

    As there haven't been any businesses even close to considering a proposal to construct rail in Ohio, then it's fair to say the demand isn't there.

  3. Hmmm. By your definition, the government shouldn't build any more roads, they should wait until "capitalism" finds a way to pay for them.

    I guess since no business in Ohio has a plan to build roads, there must not be a demand for them.

  4. Who built the railroads? The government?

    This project has nothing but "boondoggle" written all over it.

  5. Not to mention the connection to DAYTON?!?!? I'm sorry but that part of the I-70 corridor isn't that bad.

    So here's $8 million dollars, build the railroad then who is going to support it when it struggles to generate revenue, oh the taxpayers.

    Unfortunately, Anon's comment doesn't prove that we need rail either because of a huge demand.

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