Opinion: Ohio Needs Public Transit

A new Intel facility is set to bring thousands of workers to rural Ohio. Will the state embrace mass transit or give in to auto-centric sprawl?

May 25, 2022, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


In an opinion piece in Columbus Alive, Brian Williams argues that “Publicly funded transit must have a place alongside publicly funded auto travel in the massive Intel development” currently underway in Ohio. “With Intel bringing thousands of employees to the vanishing farmland halfway between Columbus and Newark, we can routinely dump hundreds of millions of dollars into ever-widening I-270 and Rt. 161. Or we could connect with the 21st century and build an easier-to-maintain and higher-capacity rail line.”

According to Williams, “It’s not just a matter of getting people from Columbus to Intel. It’s about understanding and shaping the region’s needs over the next several decades.” For Williams, “The advantage of rail is that walkable communities could develop at stations along the way and avoid the spread-out development and parking lots that would gobble up the rest of the rich farmland in western Licking County.”

The piece argues that “If the site is developed in a way intended to accommodate cars, it will be chock-full of cars no matter how much transit exists. Instead, the area should be laid out in a way that accommodates transit and pedestrians.” Williams admits this will be hard to achieve given the region’s existing sprawl, but continuing to fund car-centric development will only perpetuate an unsustainable model.

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