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Amtrak expansion in Ohio is expected to bring jobs and revenue, but not for a while

An Amtrak train pulls into a station in Ashland, Virginia.
Amtrak
An Amtrak train pulls into a station in Ashland, Virginia.

New numbers show the Amtrak expansion that’s planned for Ohio will bring thousands of new jobs and millions in new taxes. Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration announced Amtrak would expand four key routes in Ohio.

The expansion is in the earliest stages at this point. But the four key corridors include:

  • Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati, the 3C+D corridor
  • Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit
  • Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus-Pittsburgh, the Midwest Connect corridor via Lima, Kenton, Marysville, Columbus, Newark, Coshocton, Newcomerstown, Uhrichsville, and Steubenville in Ohio
  • Daily Cardinal Service, increasing service frequency from three days per week to daily on Amtrak’s current service to Cincinnati between New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, IL via the States of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.

John Esterly, a board member with All Aboard Ohio, said Ohio got lucky when it comes to Amtrak expansion.
“We were very fortunate to get four of the routes here in Ohio. There were 92 applicants. They only chose 40. So, we got kind of a disproportionately large amount of attention here in the Ohio area,” Esterly said.

The project itself is expected to create thousands of new jobs and millions in new revenue, according to an economic impact study Rob Moore, a principal with Scioto Analysis, the organization that conducted the study, said the Amtrak expansion is expected to create 1000-1200 jobs statewide.

 · 220-280 jobs in Greater Dayton

· 400-520 jobs in Greater Columbus

· 190-410 jobs in Greater Cincinnati

· 150-240 jobs in Greater Cleveland

 Moore said it is expected to generate $64 to $66 million in earnings and up to $3.7 million in tax revenue in the first year of the investment alone. Erin Rosiello, chair of All-Aboard Ohio, noted those numbers don’t include other economic development outside of the rail service itself.

Next steps

Esterly said the attention now turns to the existing plans. He said those will be reviewed and a budget will be created from that information with funds that have already been earmarked for that purpose.

After that’s completed, Esterly said decisions will be made about existing infrastructure that could be used and figure out what is needed, such as new train stations. And he said that process will consider how to implement the service.

Esterly said the third step will be the final design process and an engineering and design plan, and then a price tag for the expansion will be developed. Last year it was estimated to cost as much as $100 million to build each line.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said earlier this week the Ohio projects will receive priority funding in FRA’s Fed-State Partnership – National (FSP-N) Program. He said $2.4 billion is available per year for fiscal years 2022-2026 for the FSP-N program under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which he helped pass. And he said the Ohio corridors can apply for assistance from additional federal programs.

Last year when the state signed on to study passenger rail service expansion, it was estimated it would cost as much as $20 million a year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Contact Jo Ingles at jingles@statehousenews.org.