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Restarting Passenger Rail In Ohio's 3C Corridor

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For Immediate Release

Contact Mary Hiland 614.221.6688

December 13, 2010

 

Ohio's blind sees greater need for 3C trains than Kasich

Abandonment of Passenger Rail Project Could Harm Blind Ohioans; Governor-Elect Urged to Reconsider

 

COLUMBUS -- Abandoning the passenger rail project in Ohio could ultimately reduce the chances of the more than 1.8 million Ohioans with disabilities, including approximately 950,000 veterans and 20,000 people with vision impairments, of getting jobs, according to Mary Hiland, Executive Director of the American Council of the Blind of Ohio (ACB-Ohio).

 

In a recent letter to the Governor-Elect, Hiland said, We who are blind or visually impaired understand that at this time, many Ohioans do not see the value of the 3-C rail project. However, with time it will become apparent to all that this undertaking is essential for the economic health of Ohio."

 

Speaking for all Ohioans with disabilities, ACBO Executive Director Mary Hiland further stated, "Although the adoption of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 has advanced the civil rights of people with disabilities, having access to transportation to jobs is still a huge challenge for people who are blind or visually impaired." Thousands of Ohioans with disabilities would benefit greatly from passenger rail. Not only would it create jobs and improve Ohios economy, but it would also significantly improve mobility for people with disabilities, who desperately need equal access to transportation.

 

We are deeply disappointed in the short-sighted decision to throw away this opportunity for Ohio to be a leader in making transportation accessible to all Ohioans, not just those who can drive their cars, Hiland said. Were strongly urging Governor-Elect Kasich to reconsider his opposition to this project. It is a very sad day for Ohioans with disabilities who face the daunting task of achieving personal financial success while grappling with limited transportation options.

 

The American Council of the Blind of Ohio is the states leading organization of people who are blind and visually impaired. With chapters and members throughout the state, the organization seeks to enhance the quality of life and independence of people who are blind or visually impaired.

 

www.acbohio.org


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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That is an argument that has not been brought up before but I think it is really powerful.  Not only would the 3-c help the blind but also people with many other disabilities.  The only choice really is Greyhound which I am not even sure if the buses are handicap accessible for people in wheelchairs. 

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That is an argument that has not been brought up before but I think it is really powerful.  Not only would the 3-c help the blind but also people with many other disabilities.

It's been brought up before, but Kasich doesn't care.
The only choice really is Greyhound which I am not even sure if the buses are handicap accessible for people in wheelchairs. 

They have handicapped accessible buses, but you have to tell them ahead of time. http://www.greyhound.com/en/ticketsandtravel/disabledtravelers.aspx

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Still no statement from "Team Kasich"?

 

He won't either.  His mind is made up.  By god he knows his decision is right.  Don't confuse him with reality.  :wink:

 

So is the Joint Powers Authority for 3C a non-starter, or is there movement on that front?

 

I hope it's not dead.  There will be other rail money to go after, even though it will only pay for 80% of capital.  That means the JPA would have to come up with $80 million. 

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Who cares about the disabled or the elderly?!  Clearly not kasich..  Today is another day that taking a train would be much faster/safer than driving I-71.

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So is the Joint Powers Authority for 3C a non-starter, or is there movement on that front?

 

There's a pulse there. The limited goal is to give the $14.9 million Tier II environmental assessment & preliminary engineering a new home. The FRA wants the money back because there isn't a new sponsor for it yet because the JPA hasn't formed yet. The clock is ticking. If it goes back to the feds, then it will cost $3 million (the 20 percent nonfederal match) to get it back. So the local governments would spend maybe a total of $150,000 per year for two staffpersons to oversee the Tier II EA/PE to save having to come up with $3 million.

 

 


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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^so KJP ow fast can this thing come together? How much time before we're SOL? 

 

Today is another day that taking a train would be much faster/safer than driving I-71.

 

No doubt.  I was stuck driving to Columbus during last week's snow.  Granted, my meeting was in Pickerington, but I could have gotten a motor pool car from our central office to complete my trip. A train ticket would have been cheaper than driving the motor pool car round trip, particularly when you consider my lost productivity. 

 

 

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  Yeah, yeah, I know, never send a bus to do a train's job...

 

  But UO forumers can take heart that Megabus now serves Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland.

 

  Too bad that there is no route between Columbus and Cleveland, but Megabus seems to be growing in popularity.  :-)

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For Immediate Release

Contact Mary Hiland 614.221.6688

December 13, 2010

 

Ohio's blind sees greater need for 3C trains than Kasich

Abandonment of Passenger Rail Project Could Harm Blind Ohioans; Governor-Elect Urged to Reconsider

 

Speaking for all Ohioans with disabilities, ACBO Executive Director Mary Hiland further stated, "Although the adoption of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 has advanced the civil rights of people with disabilities, having access to transportation to jobs is still a huge challenge for people who are blind or visually impaired ...

 

"We are deeply disappointed in the short-sighted decision to throw away this opportunity for Ohio to be a leader in making transportation accessible to all Ohioans, not just those who can drive their cars," Hiland said.

 

www.acbohio.org

 

ROFL ... oh, snap.  (Except it should have been "Ohio's blind see ...," not "sees.")

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This is what I posted at www.allaboardohio.org ...........

 

If you don't want to wait at least four years to see major infrastructure investment, thousands of jobs and a high-quality, low-cost, energy-efficient travel alternative in the Midwest's busiest intercity travel corridor, then help us encourage local governments to create a 3C Joint Powers Authority like those in the Capitol Corridor in California or the Northern Lights Express in Minnesota. It must be done quickly...

 

Here is the immediate need: The limited goal is to find a new home for the $14.9 million grant awarded to ODOT to conduct a Tier II environmental assessment & preliminary engineering of 3C Corridor passenger rail. This work must be done before a construction grant can be awarded by the Federal Railroad Administration. The FRA wants the money back because there isn't yet a new, willing sponsor for the grant because the JPA hasn't formed yet. The clock is ticking. If the no-match grant goes back to the feds, then it will cost $3 million (the 20 percent nonfederal match) to get it back. The reason is the no-match grant was a one-shot deal under the stimulus. So the choice for local governments is to combine forces now to spend as much as $150,000 for two staffpersons to oversee the consulting team conducting the Tier II EA/PE or come up with $3 million for a nonfederal match at a later date.

 

Here is the long-term JPA vision: Completion of the Tier II EA/PE will take about one year. The outcome, depending on public input, could be the same or a differently designed 3C project such as one offering faster, more frequent trains possibly achieved in a phased approach. The JPA would then decide whether to issue a request for proposals from private consortia to design, build, operate and maintain 3C train service. Funding might then be sought based on bids received.

 

Here is the immediate strategy: Secure letters of support from City Council members and Mayors in as many 3C cities as possible, as well as from local transit agency board members and general managers in as many 3C cities as possible. The letters, sent immediately, should urge USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Rail Administrator Joe Szabo to not redistribute Ohio's $14.9 million grant 3C's Tier II environmental assessment & preliminary engineering to other states, and to preserve as much of the remaining $385.1 million pledged for 3C as possible until a 3C Joint Powers Authority can be formed through the execution of co-local agreements.

 

Here is some background information on a 3C JPA:

 

3C JPA Summary....

http://freepdfhosting.com/bd173f3a6e.pdf

 

3C JPA Detail....

http://freepdfhosting.com/127a2cddc8.pdf

 

Please let me know if you need further information.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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So is the Joint Powers Authority for 3C a non-starter, or is there movement on that front?

 

There's a pulse there. The limited goal is to give the $14.9 million Tier II environmental assessment & preliminary engineering a new home. The FRA wants the money back because there isn't a new sponsor for it yet because the JPA hasn't formed yet. The clock is ticking. If it goes back to the feds, then it will cost $3 million (the 20 percent nonfederal match) to get it back. So the local governments would spend maybe a total of $150,000 per year for two staffpersons to oversee the Tier II EA/PE to save having to come up with $3 million.

 

 

 

Someone needs to talk to ODOT asap about this JPA to make sure this $14.9 million doesn't go bye-bye.  Trust me, there are states lurking out there that covet these $$$.

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^And people think I'm a prick on this forum.

 

This is what Cincinnati City Council has done.  Not sure if they've sent any letters.  Is Cleveland RTA the preferred stand-in for the state?

 

Passed December 8, 2010:

201001612 Res. No. 0067-2010

 

RESOLUTION, dated 11/16/2010 submitted by Vice Mayor Qualls, EXPRESSING the support of Council for the 3C rail project, urging Governor-elect Kasich to continue the project, and also urging other officials to take necessary action to ensure the development of the 3C rail corridor.

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Someone needs to talk to ODOT asap about this JPA to make sure this $14.9 million doesn't go bye-bye. Trust me, there are states lurking out there that covet these $$$.

 

We're going straight to the top.

 

 

KJP, I really wish there was a way to channel all of your energy into something useful.

 

What, like sleep?? I slept last month.

 

 

This is what Cincinnati City Council has done. Not sure if they've sent any letters. Is Cleveland RTA the preferred stand-in for the state?

 

 

The resolution was a necessary initial step. But Cincy Council/Mayor hasn't sent any letters yet, but they've been asked. Please urge your councilperson to circulate one or at least sign one. Cleveland RTA isn't the necessarily the preferred lead agency in a 3CJPA. But it should be an entity that has experience with passenger rail -- it could even be CVSR or Akron Metro RTA which owns more route-miles of track than Cleveland RTA.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Has anyone in Cleveland city council heard anything as of yet? The Mayor? Who needs to be urged in Cleveland? Any definite people letters should be sent to urge them to send the support?

 

 

Oh, and about that article...Yes, the blind have more vision than Johnny good 'ole boy.

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The resolution was a necessary initial step. But Cincy Council/Mayor hasn't sent any letters yet, but they've been asked. Please urge your councilperson to circulate one or at least sign one. Cleveland RTA isn't the necessarily the preferred lead agency in a 3CJPA. But it should be an entity that has experience with passenger rail -- it could even be CVSR or Akron Metro RTA which owns more route-miles of track than Cleveland RTA.

 

I would love the multiple levels of irony there if Metro was to oversee this!  Owners of track, but have no service.  They have not even put a notice out that they will look into running rail service in the foreseeable future.  3C will not go to Akron.  The positive is that it is in a solid Democrat base.  The upside would be that it would obviously force a more train-centric administration into Metro instead of thinking of everything as bus only thereby getting them to think outside the bus..

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^ SORTA, who runs the Metro bus system, is set to run the Cincinnati streetcar system, too.

 

Edit: Oh, you probably meant Metro in Akron. Sorry. (I got confused because KJP's post you quoted started out talking about Cincinnati.)

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Seriously, we all appreciate your efforts, but maybe a new approach would be in order?

 

I'm pretty sure he read this the first hundred times you suggested it.

 

Keep fighting the good fight, KJP.

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Has anyone in Cleveland city council heard anything as of yet? The Mayor? Who needs to be urged in Cleveland? Any definite people letters should be sent to urge them to send the support?

 

 

Oh, and about that article...Yes, the blind have more vision than Johnny good 'ole boy.

 

Write to your councilperson. Urge them to speak to Councilman Cummins and Mayor Jackson's Chief of Staff Ken Silliman about a letter to the USDOT and FRA.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Write to your councilperson. Urge them to speak to Councilman Cummins and Mayor Jackson's Chief of Staff Ken Silliman about a letter to the USDOT and FRA.

 

Thanks!..... Does anyone have working emails for these people? I have emailed before and with no reply. Is there an ideal email address for each? I will craft a letter and send it with the important information.

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Thanks!..... Does anyone have working emails for these people? I have emailed before and with no reply. Is there an ideal email address for each? I will craft a letter and send it with the important information.

 

A quick Google search reveals this...

 

http://www.clevelandcitycouncil.org/Home/CouncilMembers/tabid/59/Default.aspx


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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I don't intend to take this thread off topic, but I want to mention an example of how rail that operates at moderate speeds with frequent service and reliable schedule-keeping has a ready market. The South Shore trains between South Bend and Chicago run at near capacity, sometimes with standing room only, over much of their 90-mile route. Only small segments of the route are FRA-qualified for 79mph; counting station stops, between South Bend and Millennium Station trains average approximately 35mph. Between Michigan City and Millennium Station, the part of the route with the greatest station and ridership density, they average about 30mph.

 

That proves two points; frequency and reliability are more important than speed, and people will commute considerable distances when the times are convenient and trains are reliable, even if the accomodations are comparatively Spartan; vinyl seats, rubber runner down the aisle, bright flourescent overhead lighting, and a somewhat hard and noisy ride. Offer comfortable, reclining seats, softer lighting, and a quiet, smooth ride, and the demand probably would be even higher.

 

In the recent snowstorm where at least 100 drivers were trapped in their cars, some for twelve hours or more, and had to be rescued by crews with front-end loaders, the NICTD web site has posted no significant delays for the trains. I checked area newspapers (Michigan City and Chesterton) and saw no mention of any problems with South Shore trains.

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  "I'm pretty sure he read this the first hundred times you suggested it."

 

  Sorry if that sounded harsh; I didn't mean for it to be. Sometimes I feel like the only one on this forum that is not a rail cheerleader. I think of myself as a practical, realistic person and I get tired of the optimism on this forum.

 

  As KJP said in a previous post, the 3-C has failed many times before. As an analogy, so has the Ohio casino issue. After many, many, years, the casino issue finally passed, somewhat quietly and without fanfare. What made the difference? I think what made the difference was experience in other states. Enough Ohioans have been to Lawrenceburg and similar places to see the casinos.

 

  Ohio just doesn't have support for rail at this time, not because of some shortcoming with rail, but because of inexperience. There's a generation that has never been on a train.

 

    Much has been said about starting small, i.e., we can't afford a bullet train, so build a "slow" train instead. Well, the 3-C might STILL be too big. Maybe something between Cincinnati and Dayton, or Cleveland and Akron, or Toledo and Detroit, or better Amtrak service over one of the existing routes, or light rail within cities might be something to try. And don't give up on buses! Megabus is showing some promise, and it didn't require any state ballot initiatives!

 

    With all respect to KJP and others, what good does it really do to keep trying a strategy that isn't working? Do you really think it is going to work the next time?

 

    New track costs about $1 million per mile. There are companies that build diesel rail cars that seat 90 people and go 90 mph. Why not find an abandoned or lightly used right-of-way somewhere and get something running for $50 million instead of $400 million?

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We did. It's called the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. We're trotting it out as an example Ohioans (180,000 in 2010) will ride trains, even when the TOP speeds don't exceed 40 mph and the trains don't reach all the way to downtown Cleveland yet. Check out the CVSR thread sometime.

 

Interesting analogy with the casino issue.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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  I've been watching the CVSR thread.

 

  In Cincinnati we have a few "tourist" excursions, and one of them serves the Riverfest event, but for the most part Cincinnatians have never been on a real passenger train. Most of us don't even know that Amtrak comes through Cincinnati! We just got a new Amtrak street sign in front of CUT that I bet few noticed.

 

  Just look at the opposition to the proposed streetcar here. It's a tough political climate to expect a politician to build something. But find a way to get something running that people actually use, and it will get more attention than a whole stack of newsletters promoting rail.

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I think the casino issue passed in large part because of the economic crisis. It might take another crisis (gasoline prices!) to get a train.

 

I don't think it's a bad idea to go for something smaller if 3C fails (it seems to be working re: MetroMoves vs. streetcar), but it hasn't failed yet. You say "try something different", yet that's exactly what the JPA solution is -- something different!

 

You might think you're the only realistic one on here, but I guarantee not a one of us thinks of him or herself as unrealistic. So perhaps you yourself could use a dose of realism.

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^All I can say is that this forum has a completely different crowd than everyone else I know.

 

Most people I know think that the Cincinnati Streetcar or the Ohio 3-C  is the dumbest idea in the world. And these people vote. In fact, they voted for Kasich.

 

Note that what I want to happen is not the same as what I think will happen.

Cheers.  :-)

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I'm not sure who I know that may have voted for Kasich, but I know several Strickland voters who are against the streetcar and 3C. I know some who are anti-streetcar, but pro-3C. I don't think I know any anti-3C but pro-streetcar. I know Republicans who voted for Strickland in part because of Kasich's 3C stance.

 

Your west-sider roots might influence the people you know, and therefore the opinions you're exposed to.

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"Your west-sider roots might influence the people you know, and therefore the opinions you're exposed to."

 

It's not a question. It's a fact.

West Siders have to vote for Steve Chabot, for example. It's a tradition. He shows up at the Elder games. He's a hometown hero and ranks right up there next to Buddy LaRosa and Pete Rose.

 

There's 100,000+ residents of Colerain, Green, and Delhi Townships, and they have very high voter participation rates. That's not a voting block to be ignored. Yet, this particular voting block usually IS ignored. So, whether it's right or not, west siders will feel free to reciprocate, and ignore everyone else's project.

 

The West Side is a place where when you go to vote, some guy in a 3 piece suit will be waiting at the polling place in the rain, he will greet you by name, thank you for coming, and hand you a list of Republican endorsed candidates just in case you forgot the flyer that you recieved in the mail. He will often be the only promoter outside the polling place.

 

If you still don't think the West Side is important, note that Dick Cheney had lunch at the Price Hill Skyline the day before the Bush-Gore election.

 

West siders don't want the streetcar. They don't want the 3-C. They don't want stadiums, or casinos. They just want to be left alone. They will vote for candidates that promise to end spending on pet projects, reduce their taxes, and leave them alone. It doesn't have anything to do with the technological advantages of rail.

 

As for myself, I am smart enough to realize that the world is bigger than the West Side. But I'm also aware that the block of voters in the West Side is big enough to turn a statewide issue, and the 3-C does NOT have a following on the west side. I mean, most west-siders have never even BEEN to Cleveland!

 

KJP, maybe you should charter a tour bus from Western Hills Plaza to Tower City!

 

 

 

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Wisconsin Governor-elect Scott Walker: The passenger rail project would create 5500 jobs, but it would not create the "right kind" of jobs.

 

from Countdown with Keith Olbermann

 

I think the Plain Dealer endorsed Kasick because he wants to bust the public employee unions.

 

 

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Haha, I've heard those folk stories about that westside 8thState.  Let me correct you for a second. :wink:

First, The Elder nation is not that big.

Pet Rose is a god.

Buddy is a saint.

And Chabot's lucky if he put a matching pair of shoes on for the day.

 

Most of the people I know and deal with everyday over here are pro rail.  I have noticed however, they ALWAYS oppose large scale city projects IF no westside communities benefit from it.  There is a disconnect or distrust for the city and most of the communities will stand united on that front which can be frustrating at times. 

 

Anyway, my cousin from Bridgetown will be jumping off the Cardinal this week from UV Charlottesville. He rides it back and forth everytime and loves it especially in this weather.  He's told several stories about his choo choo chugging along down the line while the highway is gridlocked from snowstorms. 

 

P.S. Cheviot wants it's streetcar line back! 

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I think the west side would stand a good chance to get an early streetcar extension, if they'd convert their anti-streetcar energy into pro-westside-streetcar energy. This would be especially true if 3C had a stop on the bank of the Mill Creek opposite CUT. That's another thing west siders could advocate for! (I borrowed that idea from none other than Eighth and State.)

 

To a large extent, I think the west side needs to learn to help itself before it can expect others to help it. Justifiably or not, they've earned the reputation of the crazy kid playing over in the corner by himself, who everyone else just leaves alone because he is crazy. Just opposing things like 3C for selfish reasons is not productive for anyone.

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I think that if just a segment were to be built, it should be one that provides a connection between a population center that has no long-distance trains and one that does. In my opinion (and I don't live in Ohio and never have, so take it for what it's worth) it would make sense to connect Columbus and Cleveland first, because Columbus residents would then have connection to either the Northeast or Chicago without going way far out of the way.

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KJP, maybe you should charter a tour bus from Western Hills Plaza to Tower City!

 

 

Won't the west-siders throw rocks at a bus after they come out of their caves? ;)


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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I think that if just a segment were to be built, it should be one that provides a connection between a population center that has no long-distance trains and one that does. In my opinion (and I don't live in Ohio and never have, so take it for what it's worth) it would make sense to connect Columbus and Cleveland first, because Columbus residents would then have connection to either the Northeast or Chicago without going way far out of the way.

Columbus to Cincinnati, via Dayton, would also cover Dayton and provide Chicago/East Coast connections. Those connections are slower, however (maybe not to Chicago, I'm not sure), and so is estimated travel time on the 3C portion. You do pick up Dayton, however, and connecting Dayton and Cincinnati is certainly not bad, considering the economic connections. In fact, this could be done in phases with phase 1 being Dayton > Cincy, phase 2 Cbus > Dayton. That might make it more politically palatable.

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