The Ohio Hub is a high-speed railway project proposed by the Ohio Department of Transportation aimed at revitalizing passenger rail service in the Ohio region. Upon completion, the transit system will be composed of 860 mi (1,380 km) of track serving 32 stations. It will connect four states along with southern Ontario, consisting of 11 major metropolitan areas and 22 million people. The system's goal is to "expand the capacity of the transportation system by improving the railroads for both freight and passenger trains."
The initial startup cost is currently projected to be in the $500 million range. This does not include the cost of trains or the preparations needed for high-speed service. Currently, two high-speed train systems are being explored. The first, a 79 mph (127 km/h) system, is expected to cost $2.7 billion, or $3.5 million per mile. The second option, a 110 mph (180 km/h) high-speed system is estimated to cost $3.32 billion, or $4.5 million per mile.
Currently proposed service
The project's hub will be based at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (the state's largest and busiest airport) with a second Cleveland location near downtown Cleveland, and will provide service to adjacent cities in both the state of Ohio and the Ohio Region. Three proposals have been made for service – a single line system from Cleveland to Cincinnati, and two networked systems with multiple corridors providing service from Cleveland to various cities around the Ohio Region. Each corridor will branch out from Cleveland, and serve from four to nine stations, as well as connections to other regional rail services. Additional lines have been proposed to connect the currently planned corridors with each other throughout the state, as well as to add more stations between major cities.
The 3-C Corridor could provide service from Cleveland to Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati, a distance of 255 miles (410 km). The service is predicted to carry around 478,000 people a year, using a subsidy of $17 million from the state government.
The proposed corridor has, however, attracted opposition from Republican members of the state board in charge of the project, as the proposed six-hour travel time and 39-mph average speed led the project to be dubbed "snail rail". The service is also opposed by John Kasich, the Republican governor, who had pledged to end the project if elected.
On 24 September 2010, the Federal Railroad Administration authorized the state to spend $15 million of the stimulus money for the purposes of determining specifications and completing studies regarding the corridor. Also on the 24th, the state released a new schedule for the service, which would see three daily round trips being operated, taking slightly over five hours each day, an hour and a half faster than previous estimates.
Following the 2010 gubernatorial elections in Ohio, the newly elected governor John Kasich (Republican) began the process of shutting down the project and returning the money to the federal government. This money will have to be redistributed to other applicants. In a press conference, Kasich said that "[t]hat train is dead. I said it during the campaign. It is dead. Passenger rail is not in Ohio’s future."
On 9 December 2010, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the federal government had revoked the funding for the 3-C corridor, which would be redirected to high-speed rail projects in other states.
Ohio & Lake Erie Regional Rail
The Ohio & Lake Erie Regional Rail will provide service to four states plus Canada through four corridors originating in Cleveland. An additional network has been proposed with three additional lines (seven lines total), however is still under development. The current proposal features the following four corridors:
- Northwest corridor to Detroit
- Northeast corridor to Toronto
- Southwest corridor to Cincinnati
- Southeast corridor to Pittsburgh
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
On January 28, 2010, the White House announced that Ohio would receive $400 million of its request. This will allow for passenger rail service to return on the 3C corridor.
On December 9, 2010, the $400 million was reclaimed by the White House, following repeated promises by Governor John Kasich to cancel the project. He attempted to get permission to use the funds on other transportation related projects, but this was rejected by the White House. The money reclaimed was divided among several other states, including California, New York and Florida.
- "The Ohio Hub: The Project". Ohio Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2007-04-24.
- "Ohio Hub Executive Summary". Ohio Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
- "Ohio Hub Fact Sheet 2004" (PDF). Ohio Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
- "Ohio Hub Overview 2006" (PDF). Ohio Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
- "Ohio releases faster passenger train schedule". BusinessWeek. 24 September 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
- "Ohio may turn down federal money, scrap rail project". Trains Magazine. 5 April 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
- "Ohio Governor-elect: "That train is dead"". Trains Magazine. 5 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- "Fact Sheet: Kasich says no passenger rail for Ohio". Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- "U.S. yanks high-speed rail funds for Wisconsin and Ohio". Reuters. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
- "Fact Sheet: High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program: Cleveland - Columbus - Dayton - Cincinnati". Retrieved 2010-01-28.
- "Ohio rail money will go to California, Florida, New York". Retrieved 2010-09-12.