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Biden's Infrastructure Plan Makes Another Attempt At Passenger Rail In Ohio

An Amtrak train pulls out of Chicago's coach yard and maintenance facility.
Loco Steve
An Amtrak train pulls out of Chicago's coach yard and maintenance facility.

President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan includes an $80 billion investment in passenger rail. Amtrak has announced one of the projects from that investment would be another crack at creating a train system that goes from Cincinnati to Cleveland.

The "3-C+D corridor" proposal is back. This is a train connecting Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland, with other stops also along the way.

In 2011, then-Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, rejected $400 million dollars in federal funds to create the corridor. Back then, the speed of the train was a target of critics.

Derrick James, Amtrak director of government affairs, said the new corridor proposal will be faster.

"We know that speed is important. We know that the narrative is important. And so we are proposing to invest enough in the host railroad to get the speed up," James said during a panel discussion at the Columbus Metropolitan Club.

If approved, the federal government would pay to keep the line running for the first three years with a phased-in handoff of operations to the state. The last project estimated $17 million a year from the state for operations.

The new proposal says the corridor can have a $129 million annual economic impact.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.