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Cincinnati to Gov. DeWine: support expanded passenger rail in Ohio

A map of Ohio showing proposed passenger rail lines from Cincinnati to Dayton, Columbus, and Cleveland.
Part of Amtrak's nationwide expansion plan is a proposal for passenger rail lines connecting Cincinnati with Dayton, Columbus, and Cleveland.

Billions of dollars in federal grants are available to expand inter-city passenger rail, and Cincinnati officials hope to bring that money to Ohio. Council unanimously passed a resolution last week asking Governor Mike DeWine to apply.

“This project is about growing our state and taking advantage of the potential further connection of Ohio's economic centers can have, and I'm proud to support action by the state of Ohio towards this,” said Mayor Aftab Pureval.

The resolution supports a plan from Amtrak that would connect Cincinnati to Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland, with several other stops along the line. The “Three C” cities haven’t been connected directly by rail since 1967, according to Amtrak.

DeWine hasn’t endorsed the plan but did ask a state agency earlier this year to study the cost and feasibility.

The proposal has been around for years. In 2011, then-Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) rejected $400 million dollars in federal funds to create the corridor.

Cincinnati Council’s motion is similar to one passed in Cleveland a couple months ago. State officials would have to support the project since the state department of transportation would need to apply for the grant.

“We are hoping that a united front will be attractive to Amtrak and the federal government, when they're thinking through where to invest the billions of dollars available for this program,” Pureval said.

The program is the Corridor Identification and Development (“Corridor ID”) program from the Federal Railroad Administration. It’s funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of last year.

Becca Costello grew up in Williamsburg and Batavia (in Clermont County) listening to WVXU. Before joining the WVXU newsroom, she worked in public radio & TV journalism in Bloomington, Indiana and Lincoln, Nebraska. Becca has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including from local chapters of the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and contributed to regional and national Murrow Award winners. Becca has a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Becca's dog Cincy (named for the city they once again call home) is even more anxious than she is.