Rail authorities and local leaders from across the state discussed a proposed line to connect communities across Ohio on Tuesday.
It is called the 3C+D corridor: a proposed Amtrak train route connecting Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton with a few stops in between.
“Along with Crestline, Delaware, Springfield and Sharonville,” said Amtrak president Stephen Gardner, during the virtual media roundtable.
The proposed 250-mile-long route would offer three daily round trips from Cleveland to Cincinnati and take just under five hours. Amtrak officials said the passenger train route is long overdue.
“For far too long, the United States has prioritized other modes of travel ahead of passenger rail… In fact, highways receive about 30 times more federal funding each year than inter-city passenger rail,” Gardner said.
“Where there’s good, effective and efficient modes of transportation you will always get commerce to flow and investment opportunities to occur,” said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.
The expansion plans are part of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure proposal to Congress. Making it a reality would need millions of dollars from the federal and state governments as well as local community support.
The mayor of Crestline in Richland County said she’s all aboard.
“I’m representing rural America and people want to be able to come to Crestline, get on a train, go to Cleveland to catch a Browns game or a Cleveland Indians game, a Cavs game… They also want to go to Ohio State, we have a lot of Ohio State alumni,” said Mayor Linda Horning Pitt.
“Our goal here is to achieve this broad vision by, of course, 2035… We think the corridor in Ohio is a place where we want to start early and we’re looking for the support at the local level to show that’s a good investment for the federal government,” Gardner said.
A train trip to Cincinnati would take about an hour longer than a driving, but there would be no need to stop for snacks or bathroom breaks..
“You can work, you can have access to Wifi, you can socialize, you can walk around, it’s a much more comfortable and productive method,” Gardner said.
Amtrak officials said until funding is approved, they cannot give an exact timetable of when the corridor would be up and running. But they said by using existing railroad tracks, limited service could be available in just a couple of years.