Ohio Debates Expanded Rail Service

The state has the chance to apply for a piece of $2.3 billion in federal funding to improve and expand Amtrak service.

1 minute read

December 11, 2022, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

With $2.3 billion in federal funding for passenger train service on the line, it remains unclear whether the state of Ohio will apply for a portion of the money. According to an article by Susan Glaser of Cleveland.com in Governing, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine “is awaiting answers to several key questions before making a decision about whether to seek federal money for expanded Amtrak service in the state.”

The governor wants to know how many new riders the service could get, the speed of the trains, how new passenger service would interact with existing freight service, and how much state funding would be required.

As Glaser explains, “This $2.3 billion is the first available for expanded intercity passenger rail service, part of a program to bring new routes to areas of the country that are underserved by train transportation.”

Ohio residents currently have limited access to intercity trains. Glaser notes, “There hasn’t been passenger rail service between Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati since the early 1970s.” This route was recently identified as a top priority by Amtrak. “Twelve years ago, under former Gov. Ted Strickland, the state received $400 million in federal funding to launch the 3-C route. Shortly after taking office, however, newly elected Gov. John Kasich famously returned the money to Washington because he was opposed to state support for passenger rail service.”

Thursday, December 8, 2022 in Governing

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