COLUMBUS – Governor Mike DeWine has directed the Ohio Rail Development Commission to apply for the first phase of funding to study expanding passenger rail service in Ohio. The Federal Railroad Administration’s Corridor Identification and Development program would assist the state in assessing potential intercity passenger rail corridors.
“This is the first step of many in this process. We have a lot of questions that need to be answered before we make any commitments,” said DeWine. “The information we gather from this effort will help us make informed decisions about federal opportunities for passenger rail in Ohio.”
The state has identified two corridors to advance for consideration: Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati and Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit.
If the application is successful, the Federal Railroad Administration would provide $500,000 per corridor. These funds would allow Ohio to bring in a consultant to prepare a scope of work for a Service Development Plan. This would be a comprehensive plan that includes information about the track improvements, equipment, stations and other facilities, operating costs, ridership, and required state subsidy that are needed to start service.
“Under Governor DeWine’s direction, we have been talking with Amtrak for quite some time to explore options and gather information. Our work with Amtrak was necessary for a federal application but it is just the first step. The Governor has been very clear that for this to work for Ohio, it is not just a matter of cost. It has to be done in a way that does not impede freight rail traffic in the state that is so important to our economy and our businesses,” said Matthew Dietrich, Executive Director of the Ohio Rail Development Commission.
The Corridor ID Program is a comprehensive intercity passenger rail planning and development program that will help guide intercity passenger rail development throughout the country and create a pipeline of intercity passenger rail projects ready for implementation.
Applications are due by March 27