Given its central location between Alaska and Florida, Ohio is an essential hub for plans to create a vastly expanded national passenger rail system.
The $400 million in stimulus money awarded to the state earlier this year for the so-called “3-C Corridor” was intended to kick-start intercity passenger rail in Ohio that will eventually connect to surrounding states (see “Derailed,” in the July 14 issue).
But it seems Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich prefers to think of his home state as a remote island, the kind where all the drinks come with umbrellas and the citizens live in refrigerator boxes. At a forum last week, Kasich recycled myths that the trains would go only 39 mph, would cost staggering sums to support, and that nobody wants them anyway.
“It’s not going to happen when I become governor, OK?” he said. “If you want that train, I hope you can get over that and vote for me anyway, but you’re not going to get that train.”
The following day, U.S. transportation secretary and fellow Republican Ray LaHood sounded a somewhat differing tone. “The reason that Ohio is connected to an interstate system that runs all over America is because it was a national plan,” he said. “Ohio will be connected.” Sounds like it might be time to compare notes.