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Amtrak eyes Ohio rail expansion following passage of infrastructure bill

Amtrak's CEO specifically pointed to Ohio's major cities for intercity route expansion as part of the $66 billion it will receive in infrastructure funds.

CLEVELAND — Editor's Note: The above video features previous reporting on Amtrak in Ohio

The recent passing of President Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure plan by Congress will bring big changes to the nation's passenger rail service. 

It appears Ohio will be front and center when those changes occur. 

The infrastructure bill is providing $66 billion to Amtrak. Plans call for the improvement of its 457-mile-long Northeast Corridor as well as other routes. It's the largest federal investment in passenger rail service since Amtrak was founded 50 years ago.

Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn appeared on HBO's Axios show on Monday and said about half of the money targeted for Amtrak would go to expanding intercity passenger rail across the U.S. — targeting places where there are now few or no routes.

"Phoenix to Tucson is a great example," Flynn said. "Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati. Los Angeles to Las Vegas."

Amtrak has a plan in place called the 3C + D Corridor (Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati, and Dayton), which would connect Ohio's major cities together via rail service. 

There would be three daily round trips from Cleveland to Cincinnati. Proposed stations along the way would be in the following cities:

  • Cleveland, OH
  • Cleveland Hopkins Airport (NEW) 
  • Crestline, OH (NEW)
  • Delaware, OH (NEW)
  • Columbus, OH (NEW)
  • Springfield, OH (NEW)
  • Dayton, OH (NEW)  
  • Sharonville, OH (NEW) 
  • Cincinnati, OH

According to Amtrak, initial trip time from Cleveland to Columbus would be 2 hours, 52 minutes. A trip from Cleveland to Cincinnati would be 5 hours, 30 minutes. The company adds that the new rail connections would improve mobility for underserved communities and provide reliable and efficient transportation to education and employment opportunities along the route. Connections would be available to Cleveland’s RTA Light Rail System, Columbus’ COTA system, and Cincinnati’s Metro system. The proposed route would also serve dozens of colleges and universities and connect 18 Fortune 500 companies. 

(The 3C + D corridor line is shown in yellow and green in the image below)

Credit: Amtrak

Amtrak’s vision would also turn both Cincinnati and Cleveland into new hubs for its service. In addition to the existing "Long Distance" trains that operate through Ohio – the Capitol Limited, Cardinal, and Lake Shore Limited – the following improved services are included in Amtrak’s vision:

  • Cincinnati - Chicago: +4 daily roundtrips
  • Cleveland - Detroit: +3 daily roundtrips
  • Cleveland - New York City: +2 daily roundtrips

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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