3-C rail vote hints at trouble down line
Controlling Board approves study, but plan’s future iffy
Tuesday, April 20, 2010 2:50 AM
By James Nash
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Gov. Ted Strickland’s dream of passenger trains linking Ohio’s major cities survived a key legislative hearing yesterday, but the closeness of the vote could signal trouble ahead.
In a strict party-line vote, a panel of lawmakers authorized the Ohio Department of Transportation to spend $25 million on an in-depth study of environmental and engineering issues related to running conventional-speed passenger trains from Cleveland to Cincinnati, with stops in Columbus and Dayton.
The four Democrats on the Controlling Board voted yes. The three Republicans voted no.
The narrow margin could be perilous to the train plan. Supporters of the idea need to pick up at least one more vote on the seven-member panel to spend any money on upgrading tracks or buying rail cars. Lawmakers voted last year to require a 5-2 supermajority on the panel to approve any capital expenditures on train service.
The $25 million study – which will look at train schedules, interaction between freight and passenger trains, environmental consequences and track design – is expected to take about nine months.
3C moving forward…for now
April 20, 2010 by John