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Passenger Rail in OH Could Put Business on the Right Track

July 13, 2010

RIVERSIDE, Ohio - The Ohio Department of Transportation says the federally funded 3-C corridor passenger rail project is on track, and that could be very good economic news for the cities along the route. The train would link Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati, with possible stops in other cities such as Riverside, the home of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Riverside Director of Economic Development and Planning Bob Murray says developers are already looking at parcels of land along the tracks in his community.

"Several very large developers are examining the site to make what's known as a transit-oriented district."

Murray says the land was viewed as marginal at best before there was talk of passenger rail service.

He says the trains would also expand the labor pool for the big Air Force Base.

"It gives the ability for the base, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, to access the employment pools in both Columbus and Cincinnati."

The train ride would be about an hour from either city and would be cut further when train speeds increase as tracks are improved.

State officials are hoping to get the service up and running by 2011.

Opponents of the project say the state should forgo the federal funding.

Ohio was awarded $400 million for the project in January and supporters say it would be foolish to pass up the jobs and opportunity the dollars would create.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - OH