Strickland On 3C Rail: “Why Would They Not Want Information?“
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Ohio Governor Ted Strickland will continue to push for the 3C passenger rail project until he leaves office in January.
With nearly two months left until his term expires and Governor-elect John Kasich takes office, Strickland said Thursday that he will not discontinue spending on the 3C rail project. In a letter to Strickland, Kasich asked him to instruct the Ohio Department of Transportation to cease funding rail studies. Kasich has said that the 3C rail program is “dead” when he takes office.
“I think this study is important,“ Strickland said. “Mr. Kasich may choose not to use it, but some future governor, some future legislature, may find the results of that study helpful… Why would they not want information? Why would they not want to have the data that would help them make an appropriate decision?”
“I see it as a huge missed opportunity. We’re talking about $400 million being given to another state. This money will not be used to reduce the deficit. It will be used for passenger rail, and it will be used by another state to create jobs in that state. And Ohio will be left out… I think this is a tragedy for our state. It will create an island. Ohio will be an island cut off from a developing passenger rail system.“
ODOT has contracted for $15 million in rail studies to date, but has state approval to spend a total of $25 million. To spend beyond the $15 million figure, ODOT would need approval from the Federal Railway Administration. ODOT spokesperson Scott Varner said the agency is not working to secure FRA approval to spend additional funds on 3C rail.