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Is Cincinnati getting high-speed rail service to Chicago?


"All Aboard Ohio" is pushing for high speed rail to connect parts of Ohio and Indiana with Chicago.

Group member Pete Witte says the current rail service is inconvenient and takes too long. Driving can be costly when you factor in $50/day to park, and airlines are scaling back on short-haul flights. He says economic growth is a key factor with other big cities like St. Louis, Columbus and Cleveland studying similar lines.

"There is something there that is driving this interest by other cities," says Witte. "We need to catch up and make sure we're part of the discussion and be part of this link-up to Chicago. {Chicago is} the critical economic center of the Midwest and if we want to be a major city we need to make sure that we're connected to the major players."

The idea is still in the study phase. Group member Derek Bauman doesn't have a cost estimate but it won't be cheap to convert existing rail lines to high-speed. He says says the plan calls for incremental improvements on existing rail systems.

"We are not talking about building a super-duper bullet train, Shanghai style for billions of dollars," says Bauman. "We're talking about taking existing freight rail, improving upon it (and) building stations along the route that will serve various cities."

Bauman says the idea to keep in mind is that a high-speed commuter rail will valuable in terms of driving economic growth and connecting Cincinnati with a major economic hub.

Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Prior to joining Cincinnati Public Radio, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She enjoys snow skiing, soccer and dogs.