Despite a $400 million award from Washington to build it, a proposed passenger rail line linking Cincinnati to Columbus and Cleveland may never get out of the station if the Ohio governor's office changes hands next month
Whatever other changes in policies and priorities are at stake in the contest between Gov. Ted Strickland and Republican John Kasich, the most immediate tangible impact could be felt on the so-called 3C plan.
With Strickland as strongly in favor of the plan as Kasich is adamantly opposed to it, whether the 255-mile line is developed - indeed, whether Ohio even accepts the $400 million in federal money - will be largely determined Nov. 2.
Strickland, characterizing the plan's opponents as "cheerleaders for failure," argues that restoring passenger rail service among Ohio's three largest cities for the first time in four decades would broaden transit options while generating millions of dollars in development and thousands of jobs.
"Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati is the most heavily populated corridor in America that is totally devoid of passenger rail service," Strickland said. The line also would include stops in Sharonville and Dayton.
Kasich, who considers the proposed 3C line too expensive, too slow - preliminary schedules called for a 39 mph, 6½-hour trip from Cincinnati to Cleveland - and unlikely to attract enough riders, has vowed that the idea would be "dead when I become governor.""It doesn't work," Kasich said. "The idea that we are going to fix Ohio's economy with a 39 mph train is prima facie evidence that we are lost in the thicket here."