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Rail News Home Passenger Rail

2/13/2024



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Report: Ohio lawmakers consider rejoining Midwest passenger-rail compact


Some of those who support passenger-rail expansion in Ohio say that since the state withdrew from the MIPRC, it has been left out of more than a decade of planning and funding discussions involving the expansion of Amtrak and passenger-transit service.
Photo – amtrak.com

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Ohio lawmakers from both parties and chambers are drafting legislation that, if passed, would allow the state to rejoin the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission (MIPRC), according to a Statehouse News Bureau report.

The state gave up membership in the MIPRC in 2013, under then-Gov. John Kasich (R), who had turned down $400 million in federal grants for an Amtrak line between Cleveland and Cincinnati.

The MIPRC is an interstate compact commission of Midwestern state legislators, governors and their designees that promotes the growth and development of state and regional passenger rail. The compact has a primary role in advocating for the federal government to develop a lasting collaboration with states for passenger-rail development, according to the MIPRC website.

Ohio Rep. Mike Skindell (D) and others who are part of an effort to revitalize passenger rail in Ohio say that since the state withdrew from the MIPRC, it has been left out of more than a decade of regional planning and funding discussions involving the expansion of Amtrak and passenger-transit service, the news service reported Feb. 9.

In December 2023, the Federal Railroad Administration announced it would fund the first phase of studies for four proposed Amtrak lines in Ohio. As the state prepares for that potential expansion of rail service, it would be well-served to rejoin the MIPRC, said John Esterly, a board member of All Aboard Ohio, a rail advocacy group.

The Ohio House's version of a bill to do that will be introduced in the next month, Skindell said. Several GOP members have signed on to it. A Senate version of the legislation also has bipartisan backing.

 



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