Why trains are good for Ohio

I’m not jumping up and down about Ohio building a 79 mph passenger rail system in 2011- especially since I was reading about Bullet Trains in Japan in grade school (that was in the 1970s, people). I’ve ridden on the Eurostar through the Chunnel. Engineering marvels. Been around for years. And, now, the best the most powerful nation can do is 79 mph?

Mussolini had trains that ran that fast.

I also don’t see it as a stimulus magic wand. It won’t do much for jobs- or make companies want to move to Ohio. Nope, on all accounts we’re looking like a third world nation if this is best we can do.

From the 3c is me website:

Ohio has received $400 million in federal stimulus resources to invest in passenger rail.

“With today’s historic announcement by President Obama, Ohio takes a major step toward modernizing our state’s transportation infrastructure,” said Governor Strickland. “The 3C Corridor will create economic development opportunities and serve as a model of environmental sustainability. Most importantly, it will put thousands of Ohioans to work over the next few years.”

The 256-mile 3C Corridor – stretching from Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati – would reconnect nearly 6 million Ohioans with 79 mph passenger trains for the first time in 40 years.

via 3C is ME.

However, this does get us started toward rail- and an eventual upgrade to high speed, and that is good. I’ve been hearing people complain all day in response to a post I put up on Facebook- about how it’s not going to be “economically viable” and require taxpayer support. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but trains and tracks require much less continuous care and feeding at taxpayer expense than anything resembling a road made out of asphalt. Roads are crap investments when you look at revenue. Trucking things is inefficient as all get out, as well.

This country needs to wean itself from the teat of cheap oil. This is a good step. And for those of you who have ridden real trains- you know how much nicer it is to ride a train than fly in a plane, or even drive a car.

Yep, there are people who think that trains are too slow, that they can get somewhere faster, cheaper on a tank of gas- but, they aren’t really thinking opportunity costs. I can work while on a train- I can’t while driving. Trains don’t get stuck in traffic. Trains don’t require me to stop to go potty. In civilized countries trains are the way business gets done.

Thank you, economic downturn- if that’s what it takes to get us to make smart moves like bringing back rail travel- great.

Here is our Grassroots Dayton Daily Show take on the train- coming soon to Ohio:

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!