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Restarting Passenger Rail In Ohio's 3C Corridor

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I think its gotta be initiated by the private sector for any idea to have a chance of gaining momentum and turning into a legitimate concept.  Folks in the public sector seem to be gunshy from the 3C battle.  Aside from all the technical issues, from my layman's perspective, this would make some headway.

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Though directed at the Cincinnati streetcar project, this ballot issue could impact ALL rail projects in the Cincinnati area.... this, according to an analysis by the Cincinnati Enquirer:

 

 

 

September 17, 2011

 

 

How far does the streetcar ballot issue really go?

 

Wording could prevent projects until 2020

By Carrie Whitaker and Jane Prendergast

cwhitaker@enquirer.com; jprendergast@enquirer.com

 

November's ballot issue to halt Cincinnati's streetcar plan until 2020 is written so broadly it could stop other rail projects in the city, say a majority of legal experts interviewed by The Enquirer.

 

Cincinnati voters will decide on Issue 48 this fall. But the impact of what they'll be voting on has been in dispute.

 

The author of the charter amendment's wording, Chris Finney, again insisted last week in an interview that his "objective was to limit the scope only to the bad project that's on the table at this time" - the planned streetcar from Downtown's Government Square to Over-the-Rhine, just north of Findlay Market.

 

Opposition to this ballot issue is led by a group called Cincinnatians for Progress, which formed to fight a similar charter amendment on the November 2009 ballot. That measure failed.

 

Read more at: http://communitypress.cincinnati.com/article/AB/20110917/NEWS0108/109180336/Rail-projects-may-face-halt?odyssey=nav%7Chead

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I check out the Cincy streetcar thread about once a day and see the links they're posting from folks opposing the project. It seems the same campaign of misinformation that plagued 3-C is taking over Cincinnati. I wish we could hold hands with state and local politicians, take them for a walk around New England cities, other East Coast cities and Europe to show them that all prosperous cities have access to efficient rail. Not everyone has a damn car (Just got rid of mine this weekend!).

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OKI (Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments) is hosting Open Houses for their 2040 Plan.  Some how missed the original annoucement, but the last one to appear in person is TODAY 4-7PM at:

 

Butler County Government Services

315 High St

Hamilton, OH 45011

 

If you cannot go, I encourage you writing/emailing/faxing comments to

ATTN: Regina Brock

Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments

720 Pete Rose Way, Suite 420

Cincinnati, OH 45202

T 513-621-6300

F 513-621-9325

Em: rbrock@oki.org

 

If you go or write a note, here are points I encourage you to make:

 

1. Pass a resolution and incorporate high speed rail into planning, Cincinnati-Chicago and Cincinnati-Cleveland.

 

2. Initiate a mini-CREATE project to upgrade Queensgate/Gest St./Union Terminal for more fluid freight traffic and ample space for access to the terminal for passenger train service, includes rebuilding SE Connection, adding 4th Main, etc.  For info on CREATE, see www.createprogram.org

 

3. Commuter Rail between Cincinnati-Dayton/Springfield.  This is population area is approx 70mi long and around 3-3.5million in population.  Similar length and population to Seattle-Tacoma's Sounder, Albuquerque-Santa Fe Rail Runner, and Minneapolis-St. Cloud NorthStar. Could ultimately extend to CVG and DAY.

 

4. Advocate better scheduling and DAILY service for Cardinal.

 

Your comments and feedback to OKI are important.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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i think the 3c rail project was a bad idea..but i am pro rail..the most obvious needd is a columbus link to amtrak,why on earth is columbus excluded from amtrak??ohios most important city needs a link to pittsburgh and then to new york and west to chicago.there is really not that much need for rail between the 3 c's but there would be great demand for rail to nyc and chicago..and also cincinnati needs better service ie times.make train travel attractive and ppl will use it.

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The 3C Corridor is one of the top-10 most heavily traveled intercity routes in the United States, according to the US Dept of Transportation. And the 3C project would have given Columbus Amtrak service to the east via Cleveland then through New York state -- the flattest and fastest route to the east. The link wasn't touted as much as it probably should have, but such travel would been possible had the guv kept the money to upgrade the rail lines to the same quality as the direct Chicago-East Coast lines through Toledo and Cleveland. Instead, Columbus remains the largest metropolitan area in North America and possibly the Western Hemisphere without any regularly scheduled passenger rail services, and few local officials seem interested in doing anything about changing that dubious honor. Consider this recent, sad example.... US Railcar Corp. had to ask the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority to sponsor a grant to develop a manufacturing facility in the Columbus suburb of Gahanna! Why? Because local officials wouldn't support it. If Central Ohio won't financially support passenger rail while other states/regions do, then why should passenger rail come there?

 

But why does Northern Ohio have Amtrak service? Because congressional leaders along that route, especially in Cleveland, fought for it in 1975 as Amtrak's first experimental route. Today, the Lake Shore Limited is one of Amtrak's most heavily used trains. The Capitol Limited was rerouted through Toledo and Cleveland in 1990 after track was downgraded through Canton, Mansfield and Lima.

 

Then why does Cincinnati have Amtrak service? Because Congressman Harley Staggers Sr. and Senator Robert Byrd both of West Virginia fought to include the Cardinal route in Amtrak's initial system in 1971 to link their state with the East Coast and Chicago. And they fought to keep it, albeit with service reduced to thrice-weekly operations, in the face of repeated Amtrak budget cuts in the 1980s and early 1990s. Cincinnati got and kept its trains because there was no higher quality rail route between West Virginia and Chicago.

 

No Senator or Congressional leader in Columbus has fought to keep passenger rail since Amtrak's creation 40 years ago. It's why Columbus lost the New York City-Kansas City National Limited in 1979. If a Congressman didn't fight to put or keep your city on the Amtrak route map, then Amtrak isn't going to do it for you. Same deal happened with mapping out federal highway routes. Ohio had won $400 million in no-match federal funds -- as good as it gets -- to put Columbus back on Amtrak's map. Never before has no-match federal dollars been provided for passenger rail, let alone in such large amounts. And Ohio threw it away. Why? In the hopes of getting a better deal?

 

If you want rail infrastructure that enables fast, drive-time competitive Amtrak service between Columbus and Pittsburgh to the East Coast, as well as to Columbus to Chicago, be prepared for a price tag in excess of $400 million. The highest quality, least expensive route with the greatest ridership potential for Columbus is the 3C Corridor. But if Central Ohio wants something else, then it should seek funding leveraged by some of its own because the no-match rail grants were a one-shot stimulus deal and they're all gone. Local officials should be prepared for a higher start-up cost, leveraged by a 20% non-federal funding match such as from the state or local governments (meaning if Ohio wants to reapply for a $400 million grant, it will now have to pony up $100 million of its own funding to get it). The per passenger-mile operating subsidy would be higher too, based on the Ohio Hub studies, since no Ohio-involved passenger rail route was as promising as 3C when it came to ridership, revenue or operating subsidy per passenger-mile.

 

But we keep hoping and fighting for change. And I hope you will too, including sharing some ideas on how to get train service back to Ohio's third-largest metropolitan area.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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^^ I do think there is something intriguing about a Columbus to Pittsburgh connection.  The burgh is a lot harder to drive to from Columbus than Cleveland/Cincy.  I wouldnt be surprised if a startup conventional speed rail would truly be faster than driving (3-3.5 hour trip).  The route between the two cities is a lot more scenic than the 3C route too (IMO) and could draw some pure tourism traffic.  PA is a lot more rail friendly as well; might be easier to get folks on their side interested.  Just a thought.

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Well, you might certainly find the railroad-owning landlord more supportive than in the 3C Corridor -- the state owns the rail line from Columbus to Mingo Junction near Steubenville. It needs quite a bit of improvements to get it up to at 79 mph. Unfortunately the last 40-some miles from Weirton WV into Pittsburgh is gone, abandoned almost 20 years ago.

 

And then there's the Ohio Rail Development Commission's enabling legislation which requires ORDC to pursue 3C first as part of a state plan. If someone else wants to initiate the project, putting ORDC in a supportive role instead of a leadership role, then that might their "out." Problem is, per Amtrak's M.O. and under federal law passed in 2008, only the public sector (states or groups of states) can initiate and sponsor intercity passenger rail projects.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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i think the 3c rail project was a bad idea..but i am pro rail..the most obvious needd is a columbus link to amtrak,why on earth is columbus excluded from amtrak??ohios most important city needs a link to pittsburgh and then to new york and west to chicago.there is really not that much need for rail between the 3 c's but there would be great demand for rail to nyc and chicago..and also cincinnati needs better service ie times.make train travel attractive and ppl will use it.

 

Leaving aside any comments on which of Ohio's cities is "most important", Cleveland is already on any direct route between New York and Chicago.  Expecting them to divert the line  south to Pittsburgh and Columbus (and presumably Indianapolis) and then back north to Chicago is more expensive to build and more expensive to use. 

 

I tend to be a skeptic on the topic of 3-C high speed passenger rail because I suspect that every powerful politician on the route will lobby for a stop in their district (does anyone really think Bill Batchelder, for example, is going to want 80mph trains passing through and not stopping in Medina County?) and this would defeat the purpose of the line.

 

Nevertheless, Columbus's access to NYC and Chicago is clearly going to be a connection to that lakefront route and Cleveland makes the most sense as a connection point, whether it's for passengers or freight.

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why on earth is columbus excluded from amtrak??ohios most important city

:roll:

 

Expecting them to divert the line  south to Pittsburgh and Columbus (and presumably Indianapolis) and then back north to Chicago is more expensive to build and more expensive to use. 

The Pennsylvanian already travels from NYC to Pittsburgh, it could just be extended West to Columbus, then Indy, then Chicago. It's not as far out of the way as you make it sound.

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I tend to be a skeptic on the topic of 3-C high speed passenger rail because I suspect that every powerful politician on the route will lobby for a stop in their district (does anyone really think Bill Batchelder, for example, is going to want 80mph trains passing through and not stopping in Medina County?) and this would defeat the purpose of the line.

 

 

The 3C tracks don't go through Medina County. They go farther west through Lorain County where the landscape is flatter. But I've suggested a stop in Grafton to catch riders from Medina County but especially from Elyria and Lorain.

 

The Pennsylvanian already travels from NYC to Pittsburgh, it could just be extended West to Columbus, then Indy, then Chicago. It's not as far out of the way as you make it sound.

 

Sadly, the mainline that Amtrak used before 1979 between Dayton and Indianapolis is gone. The fast, double-tracked, former-Pennsylvania RR was ripped out by Conrail in 1982. The only way to get any train from Columbus to Indianapolis today is either via Hamilton or via a tiny junction called Ridgeway near Bellefontaine. Both are CSX lines -- the alleged culprit who went to Kasich and told him to kill 3C.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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From what I've been reading, it seems that after Kasich's term that another study needs to be done and more years will pass before 3C is built.  Why can't we continue where we left off?  When the next governor starts his term (hopefully Kasich is voted out at the end of this one), the 3C study won't be *that* old.  Spending more time for another study just looks like another obstacle that prevents us from getting things done efficiently.

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The "shelf life" of the data in those planning work products is about five years. They may not have to start all over, but some effort would certainly have to be done to verify if any data has changed and, if so, by how much.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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Tony Dutzik, Senior Policy Analyst, Frontier Group

In the Public Interest: The Little Train that Could ... and Did

Posted: 01/27/2012

 

When President Obama took office in 2009, he brought with him the greatest hope in decades for reinvestment in the nation's passenger rail system.

 

The public focus was on "high-speed rail," but many of the investments made by the Obama administration and Congress were small-bore improvements to the nation's existing rail infrastructure designed to put reliable, quality passenger rail service within reach of more Americans.

 

Somewhere along the way, however, passenger rail became a political football, with Tea Party governors such as Wisconsin's Scott Walker and Ohio's John Kasich all but tying themselves to the tracks to prevent construction of new rail lines in their states.

 

It's time they took a second look at what they're missing, and Maine is a good place to start. Ten years in, Maine's experiment with the restoration of passenger rail service is paying big dividends, proving that passenger rail has an important place in the nation's transportation future.

 

READ MORE AT:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-dutzik/the-little-train-that-cou_b_1236705.html


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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Nice guest column.......

 

Hottinger got some information incorrect in column

Jan. 29, 2012

Written by

Ed D'Amato

 

For someone who claims to have spent a lot of time evaluating the 3-C corridor rail project, Rep. Jay Hottinger either didn't understand it or was being disingenuous about it in his Jan. 24 op-ed.

 

The 3-C project was based on the Ohio Hub Plan, which outlined a phased approach to providing 110 mph passenger rail service throughout the state, with the 3-C being the first step. It was developed by the Ohio Rail Development Commission during the Taft administration with the support of the legislature. In 2006, the Ohio Senate passed Resolution No. 30, which supported seeking a federal grant to advance the planning work for the Ohio Hub. The vote was 33-0, and one of the "yays" came from Jay Hottinger. In fact, former Gov. Ted Strickland would not have been able to pursue the 3-C at all had it not been for the background work done by the Republicans who preceded him.

 

Hottinger complained about the $23 million study, but declined to mention the study was part of a required federal planning process that is similar for all transportation projects and is designed to answer the questions that people like Hottinger claim to have.

 

READ MORE AT:

http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20120129/OPINION02/201290304/Hottinger-got-some-information-incorrect-column


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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In the comments to Mr. Very-self-assured Hottinger, somebody said: "adding lanes to highways can cost as much as $75 million per mile".  Does that mean that adding the third lanes to I-71 in Morrow County would cost 20 miles * 2 lanes * $75m/mile => $ 3 billion ?

 

Another way to look at it would be: can one highway bottleneck on I-71 be fixed for less than the $400 million rail subsidy?

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In rural areas, probably not so expensive as $75 million per mile. BUT in urban areas, how about $210 million per mile?

 

According to ODOT’s 2010 Business Plan, the following are Interstate highway major-new projects in the 3C Corridor are underway or wholly/partially funded for the years 2008-2015…

 

I-71/I-90 Innerbelt reconstruction in Cleveland (6 miles):

2004 ODOT estimate of $800 million, quadrupled to $3.5 billion in 2010, or $583 million per mile.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohio_Department_of_Transportation

http://blog.cleveland.com/architecture/2010/04/chances_for_a_great_i-90_bridg.html

 

I-70/I-71 split reconstruction in Columbus (3 miles):

2004 ODOT estimate of $434 million, quadrupled to $1.69 billion in 2009, or $563 million per mile.

Source: http://xingcolumbus.wordpress.com/2009/01/23/16-billion-for-downtown-split/

 

I-75 Downtown Dayton sub-corridor improvements-all three phases (3 miles):

2007 ODOT estimate of $656 million, or $218.7 million per mile

Source: http://www.mvrpc.org/subCorr/

 

I-75/I-275 Reconstruction, lane additions (26 miles) Sharonville to Franklin:

2009 ODOT estimate of $349 million, or $13.4 million per mile

Source: http://www.bceo.org/construction.html

 

I-75 Mill Creek Expressway reconstruction project (5 miles):

2010 ODOT estimate of $532 million, or $106.4 million per mile

Source: http://www.i75millcreekexpressway.com/

 

I-71/I-75 Brent Spence Bridge replacement in Cincinnati (1 mile):

2004 ODOT estimate of $750 million, more than doubled/tripled to between $2 billion to $3 billion in 2010, or $2.5 billion per mile

Source: http://www.building-cincinnati.com/2010/04/brent-spence-concepts-soon-to-be-three.html

 

TOTAL:  $9.227 billion over 44 miles, or $210 million per mile.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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Thanks.  I recall the express lanes for I-271 were $350 million.  That would be $350m/4 lanes/20 miles => $4.4 million/mile.  They already owned the alignment, though.

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And after we're all done paving the medians?

 

ODOT's Cleveland-Columbus I-71 report in the late 1990s raised that issue, and the answer prompted them to recommend instituting passenger linking Cleveland and Columbus -- along with paving the median for $500 million. After the median was paved, ODOT acknowledged it could no longer add capacity to I-71 in an affordable manner. I'll look for their exact quote sometime.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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And after we're all done paving the medians?

 

ODOT's Cleveland-Columbus I-71 report in the late 1990s raised that issue, and the answer prompted them to recommend instituting passenger linking Cleveland and Columbus -- along with paving the median for $500 million. After the median was paved, ODOT acknowledged it could no longer add capacity to I-71 in an affordable manner. I'll look for their exact quote sometime.

 

And what would it cost to build I-71 today? I saw a figure of $2.3 billion, but I think that's low. I can't imagine what it would cost to carve a right of way into Cleveland nowadays. On the other hand, I-71 costs $200 million a year to maintain and that does not include snow removal, police and the State Highway Patrol.

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Compare an contrast two passenger rail stories in Ohio.  The first is one celebrating passenger rail in a community (Toledo) that supports it and wants more....

 

Exhibit at event marks Amtrak’s 40th anniversary

BY DAVID PATCH

BLADE STAFF WRITER

 

In 1971, the newly created Amtrak was generally viewed from one of two angles: the salvation of passenger trains in the United States, or an orderly funeral to phase them out.

 

Forty-one years later, "America's Railroad" is still running, operating trains in 46 of the 50 states despite frequent budget battles in Washington, philosophical debates about its existence, and countless Jay Leno jokes about its trains' uneven on-time performance and occasional involvement in accidents.

 

That history is recounted in an Amtrak 40th Anniversary exhibit train that has toured the United States since last May 7 and makes its penultimate stop in Toledo today as the centerpiece of this year's local National Train Day event.

 

Read more at: http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2012/05/05/Exhibit-at-event-marks-Amtrak-s-40th-anniversary.html

 

The second story (no surprise) from Ohio's self-proclaimed "Greatest Home Newspaper", which has done little to support broadening and diversifying the way we need to move people with passenger rail.... but this is how the choose to "celebrate" Columbus' Bicentennial year?

 

Columbus Mileposts: May 5, 1962 | Use of ‘Beeliner’ spells end to city rail service

By  Gerald Tebben

FOR THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH Saturday May 5, 2012 5:13 AM

 

The New York Central Railroad was “ringing the death knell of north-south railroad service through Columbus,” Columbus Utilities Director Howard Johnson told The Dispatch on May 5, 1962.

 

After the railroad cut the morning passenger train to Columbus from Cleveland, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio ordered the New York railroad to restore service. The railroad responded with a “Beeliner” — a diesel-powered, stand-alone car for up to 89 passengers.

 

Johnson called the car “Toonerville Trolleylike,” and said it did not meet the city’s needs. The car was staffed by an engineer and a conductor, and had a restroom and water but no food service.

 

Johnson said the Beeliner was “lacking in comfort and safety.” If there were a collision at a railroad crossing, its fuel tanks could ignite “with disastrous results,” he said.

 

Read more at: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/05/05/use-of-beeliner-spells-end-to-city-rail-service.html

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I think it depends on the "rail." If you're talking 3C, I'm not sure it can cause that sharp contrast along party lines.

 

Most of my co-workers downtown CLE are Democrats/liberal and they were relentless bashers on the perception of it being slow speed rail.

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I think it depends on the "rail." If you're talking 3C, I'm not sure it can cause that sharp contrast along party lines.

 

Most of my co-workers downtown CLE are Democrats/liberal and they were relentless bashers on the perception of it being slow speed rail.

 

Absolutely.  My experience was similar.  3C was not a very marketable concept, even for people predisposed to support rail.  IMO it was its own worst enemy.  People's rejection that was in no way a categorical rejection of rail.  For some, it obviously was, but that's not the whole story.  Same goes for the Euclid BRT, many ardent transit backers hated the idea and still hate it.  Not everything can be read as a broad ideological statement.  Sometimes a specific idea just isn't very good.  But there's always tomorrow.

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Most of my co-workers downtown CLE are Democrats/liberal and they were relentless bashers on the perception of it being slow speed rail.

 

Show them this. This is the speed that 3C would have operated, which it draws 600,000 riders per year on a less populated route in North Carolina...

 


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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Well, yes, but the 79 goes to DC and New York.

 

79 mph as far north as DC, 100-125 mph beyond. Resurrecting the abandoned former Seaboard RR line between Petersburg and Raleigh is being planned and will have a 110 mph top speed once finished. Coupled with improvements underway north of Petersburg and it will be possible to run at speeds of up to 110 mph and more all the way from Raliegh to New York.

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I think it depends on the "rail." If you're talking 3C, I'm not sure it can cause that sharp contrast along party lines.

 

Most of my co-workers downtown CLE are Democrats/liberal and they were relentless bashers on the perception of it being slow speed rail.

 

The operative word here is "perception." They were propagandized by 3C opponents in the media and Republican Party and never had the facts. 3C was to run at a 50 mph avg speed, not the 39 mph trumpeted by those trying to kill the train.

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He's referring to train #79. The four other North Carolina trains (#73, 74, 75 & 76) travel only between Charlotte and Raleigh, and 75 percent of ridership on all of North Carolina's trains is between North Carolina cities. The first 3C train out of Cleveland and the last 3C train into Cleveland would have had through cars from/to New York City on Amtrak trains #48/49. Yet I suspect a strong majority of 3C's ridership would have been within Ohio, same as with North Carolina's trains.

 

Most people would still consider 50 mph slow, since most of them go over 70 mph in their cars.

 

You're not being consistent. What is the average speed of drivers? What is the average speed of trains? And speed is not the biggest issue for many Ohioans. What are productivity/time-saving benefits? What are the travel costs? What are the abilities of a given Ohioan to drive long distances?

 

The speed situation of trains vs. cars is the same situation in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York and every other state with state-supported trains. Yet the people ride the trains and, more importantly, the economic benefits exceed the public-sector costs.

 

The point is that Ohio treats its transportation policies in a vacuum as if the experiences of other states in providing a range of travel choices either don't exist, don't apply to it, or those states are somehow mistaken in their policies.

 

Ask officials in other states: do you regret providing your citizens with travel choices?


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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I think it depends on the "rail." If you're talking 3C, I'm not sure it can cause that sharp contrast along party lines.

 

Most of my co-workers downtown CLE are Democrats/liberal and they were relentless bashers on the perception of it being slow speed rail.

 

Absolutely.  My experience was similar.  3C was not a very marketable concept, even for people predisposed to support rail.  IMO it was its own worst enemy.  People's rejection that was in no way a categorical rejection of rail.  For some, it obviously was, but that's not the whole story.  Same goes for the Euclid BRT, many ardent transit backers hated the idea and still hate it.  Not everything can be read as a broad ideological statement.  Sometimes a specific idea just isn't very good.  But there's always tomorrow.

 

I think it could have been presented better, no doubt about it. The problem was that there was a mad scramble for stimulus money for rail projects and ODOT worked its tail off to get it, only to find that that was only the beginning of a long process. They didn't anticipate the opposition and the need to build a solid business case for 3C. If developers had been brought in at the beginning and the trains viewed as a catalyst to make development near train stations possible, we might have had a different outcome. The other side of this was the blind opposition and gamesmanship of the Republicans. They probably would have been against it, no matter how it was packaged.

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Most people would still consider 50 mph slow, since most of them go over 70 mph in their cars.

 

You just missed my point...that's a 50 mph AVERAGE speed, not the TOP speed. To do that, you have to run at up to 79 mph TOP speed. AAA estimates that door-to-door AVERAGE speeds for driving intercity trips is only 55 mph, not much more than for the train.

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Thank you KJP, my reference there was messy.  And I'm guessing the proportion of Ohio use would have been similar to what you describe.  While I could further differentiate the 79 from the 3C, my point was that the NYC connection is a lot more enticing from a marketing standpoint.  "3C+NYC" might raise eyebrows in a way that Ohio-only destinations might not, although the timing of the NYC departure from Cleveland would still be a conundrum.

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I've always loved the idea that somebody would subject themselves to driving all the way from Downtown Cincinnati to Downtown Cleveland without stopping for food, bathroom breaks or to stretch like they were doing the Cannonball Run just to beat the train by 5 mph. And that's assuming that they never hit construction or traffic jams and don't get pulled over by the State Highway Patrol for speeding.

 

Especially with children in the car. "Sorry kid, you just gotta piss your pants. I'm expressing my freedom to outrun a train."

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As much as I think Ohio needs and could benefit from an intrastate passenger rail service like 3C, I don't believe this is the most realistic next step for passenger rail development for Ohio. To me, its to build on the success of existing services  linking Chicago and the East Coast. Ohioans do not think very highly of their state and its ability to support rail service in terms of finances, ridership, politics, etc. We need to develop passenger rail in Ohio in a way that minimizes the involvement of state officials -- regardless of party. That means either local/regional commuter rail or expansion of long-distance services that happen to pass through Ohio. Once we develop those foundations, then maybe we can build some branches off them.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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I've always loved the idea that somebody would subject themselves to driving all the way from Downtown Cincinnati to Downtown Cleveland without stopping for food, bathroom breaks or to stretch like they were doing the Cannonball Run just to beat the train by 5 mph. And that's assuming that they never hit construction or traffic jams and don't get pulled over by the State Highway Patrol for speeding.

 

Especially with children in the car. "Sorry kid, you just gotta piss your pants. I'm expressing my freedom to outrun a train."

 

The highway portion is only part of the issue though.  Once this family gets to Cincinnati on the train, then what?  Suppose they actually wanted to go to Cheviot?  Things get complicated.  Ohio's sprawly metros and weak local transit reduce the feasibility of intercity rail for most purposes.  Unfortunately that moves the goal post, speed-wise, to get people interested.

 

However, that bathroom thing you bring up is a big deal, especially for core Republican voters.  No one likes to talk about it but...

 

As much as I think Ohio needs and could benefit from an intrastate passenger rail service like 3C, I don't believe this is the most realistic next step for passenger rail development for Ohio. To me, its to build on the success of existing services  linking Chicago and the East Coast. Ohioans do not think very highly of their state and its ability to support rail service in terms of finances, ridership, politics, etc. We need to develop passenger rail in Ohio in a way that minimizes the involvement of state officials -- regardless of party. That means either local/regional commuter rail or expansion of long-distance services that happen to pass through Ohio. Once we develop those foundations, then maybe we can build some branches off them.

 

That's pretty much where I'm at.  The prospect of local rail in Akron and Cincinnati seems like a big step to me.  More people will start to feel ownership of the concept, like they already do in Cleveland.

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The argument about what people do once they get to the station is specious.  It's the same situation as someone coming in by airplane.  They either rent a car or get picked up by the friends they're visiting or the get a taxi or whatever.  Granted, not many people fly between Cincinnati and Columbus, or even Cleveland, but it doesn't matter because people do come to all these places without cars when they fly, and they manage just fine.  The advantage here is that the train station is much more centrally located so there's many more options to get around.  Besides, for all the people who can't "make it work" on the train, there's plenty of people who do.  This mindset where if something doesn't work 100% all the time for everybody in every circumstance then it's not worth doing must stop. 

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If 3C existed, I think people from Dayton would go to Columbus and Cincinnati in great numbers to do things in the downtown areas. It would be a cakewalk to take the train to a Reds or Bengals game, for example.

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I use the airport comparison too, but at least with a downtown train station you can walk from it to lots of destinations close by. The exception is Cincinnati Union Terminal, but at least the taxi ride isn't too far to downtown, and there is also the #1 bus from CUT through downtown to Mount Adams, Walnut Hills, Clifton/UC and the zoo.

 

And just because the train serves downtowns that aren't as chock-full of everything we'd want them to be, amazing things start happening to downtowns when they are served better by trains and transit. These are some of downtown development plans promoted in anticipation of 3C....

 

Sharonville:

sharonvillestation-areadevelopment-s.jpg

 

Dayton (3C station is at lower-right):

Dayton-5thmain-Rendering-Woolpert3s.jpg

 

Riverside-AFB (this project will move forward but with shorter, low-density buildings spread among lots of parking):

RiversideTOD1s.jpg

 

Another view of Riverside showing the initial and later phases' proximity to the 3C rail line and station (the value recapture from this one station-area development would have paid for the 3C's entire annual operating subsidy):

RiversideTODwstation1s.jpg

 

Springfield, with the 3C rail line running right through this area at upper-left:

springfield-centercityplan-s.jpg

 

Cleveland (a variation of this may still happen, but drastically scaled back):

NorthCoastTransportationCenter-s.jpg

 

And just in case you wondered where the Cincinnati and Columbus 3C stations were going to be located, this is they. You could walk out of the Columbus station and reach a lot of important destinations in less than 5 minutes, with many more accessible by COTA's frequent High Street bus services to OSU, Clintonville and German Village....

 

CincinnatiBoathousestation1s.jpg

 

Columbusstationsite1s.jpg

 

 

But alas, it was not to be. Right, Johnny?

 

Kasichcheer.jpg


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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I've always loved the idea that somebody would subject themselves to driving all the way from Downtown Cincinnati to Downtown Cleveland without stopping for food, bathroom breaks or to stretch like they were doing the Cannonball Run just to beat the train by 5 mph. And that's assuming that they never hit construction or traffic jams and don't get pulled over by the State Highway Patrol for speeding.

 

Especially with children in the car. "Sorry kid, you just gotta piss your pants. I'm expressing my freedom to outrun a train."

 

Also keep in mind that the trains can always go faster with improvements. Just going to a 90 mph top speed/60 mph average speed cuts the endpoint to endpoint time to about 4:15

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beat_dead_horse-jpg.236910

 

Fast train to Debtsville

Ohio's shunned high-speed rail dollars weren't a blessing for California

Thursday July 5, 2012 7:58 PM

 

Remember when Gov. John Kasich took a heap of grief for killing Ohio’s 3C passenger-rail project, sending back $385 million in federal stimulus funds? A fiasco in California shows Kasich made the right call: Hopping aboard the federal gravy train would have derailed Ohio’s newly recovering budget.

 

The Golden State grabbed the lion’s share of Ohio’s returned federal dollars for its fast-rail system, only to now realize it is swamped with debt. Voters there have a serious case of buyer’s remorse.

 

As Kasich predicted, costs skyrocketed and ridership is unlikely to support the investment. A new poll shows that if a bullet train ever does run between Los Angeles and San Francisco — somewhat doubtful — most people say they would use it rarely or never. A ticket would cost $123 each way; travel websites were offering round-trip airline tickets this week for $174.

 

READ MORE AT:

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2012/07/06/1-fast-train-to-debtsville.html


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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There hasn't been a post on this thread since Jul 6, 2012. "The darkest hour is that before dawn."

 

But on this subject I don't believe the sunrise is coming anytime soon.

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There hasn't been a post on this thread since Jul 6, 2012. "The darkest hour is that before dawn."

 

But on this subject I don't believe the sunrise is coming anytime soon.

 

Nope. Just trying to put a good face on a bad situation.

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A good place have a good face for passenger rail expansion in Ohio is here:

http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php/topic,6637.msg645748.html#msg645748


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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Megabus starting CLE-Columbus-Cincy service 2x daily.  Given that Greyhound already serves this market, this is growing evidence of market demand for non-aviation service between the 3C's. What may not be clear is that they are different services, though. One may take the train, but never the bus, so if the Megabus routes do well, the rail line would definitely do well (priced accordingly).

 

http://www.cleveland.com/travel/index.ssf/2013/08/megabus_adds_routes_from_cleve.html

 

Interesting:  Megabus is also offering new service between Cleveland and Atlanta. But this trip isn't for those in a hurry, taking 151/2 hours, with stops in Lexington, Ky.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Chattanooga, Tenn....Other new cities served by Megabus: Erie, Pa.; and Buffalo, N.Y...The additions transform Cleveland into one of the company's 10 hubs, with 15 cities now accessible..."

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