Nov 9, 2021 - News

Amtrak's Midwest plan would link Ohio's "three Cs"

A diagram of proposed Midwest rail lines

Image: Federal Railroad Administration

The Buckeye State could benefit big from the $66 billion potentially coming to passenger rail via the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill sent to President Biden's desk on Friday.

Why it matters: Columbus is the second-largest city in the country without intercity rail, behind only Phoenix. Train lines would make it easier to travel between cities and bring more visitors to central Ohio.

What they're saying: Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn highlighted planned Midwest routes that would link Ohio's "three Cs" during a recent "Axios on HBO" interview. The cities are just 250 miles apart but haven't been connected by rail since 1967.

  • "Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati," Flynn says. "Those are essentially new routes where service practically does not exist today."
  • About half the money budgeted for Amtrak will go to expanding intercity train lines across the U.S., targeting locations with few or no routes.

The big picture: The "absolutely transformational" bill provides more funding than Amtrak has had in its 50 years of history combined, Flynn says.

Yes, but: You can't book a trip on your dream rail line just yet. The Midwest Regional Rail Plan is a 40-year framework that will take decades to complete.

💭 Alissa's thought bubble: I'm all for taking the hassle out of Midwest trips. A Cleveland Guardians game just a short train ride away? Deep-dish pizza and Lollapalooza without Chicago traffic? That's worth the wait. Count me in!


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