One day after Kasich sent his letter, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (and former Republican Congressman Ray LaHood) responds in writing. And for what we hope is the last time, tells Kasich no.
(HT: WSYX in Columbus)
The Honorable John R. Kasich
Governor-elect of Ohio
340 East Gay Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Dear Governor-elect Kasich:
Congratulations on your election. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with you again. I understand that you have written to President Obama to request that the $400 million for the 3C program be used for road construction and freight lines. I wanted to let you know that none of those funds may be used for anything other than our High-Speed Rail Program.
As I am sure you are aware, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has already provided Ohio with $1.1 billion, which paid for 492 road, bridge, transit, and airport projects. I believe that our rail program promises still more benefits for the people of Ohio. This rail program will create thousands of jobs and spur economic development – a shot in the arm that Ohio could well use. In addition, I have obtained commitments from more than 30 foreign rail manufacturers to located their bases of operations in the United States so we can restart idled manufacturing plants in Ohio and other States and put our skilled workers back on the job. I believe that Ohio manufacturers could benefit greatly as we build train sets and tracks, which will require wheel bearings, glass, steel, and other key components, as well as final assembly.
I respect the authority of governors to make decision for their States. I would like high-speed rail to be part of Ohio’s future, and my team and I welcome the opportunity to speak with you and the program, its options, and its benefits. If, however, you choose not to participate in the program, we would like to engage in an orderly transition to wind down Ohio’s involvement in the project so that we do not waste taxpayers’ money.
I look forward to working together with you to improve Ohio’s and the Nation’s economy and meet our transportation needs.
No word yet if the Administration ever stopped laughing at Kasich’s suggestion that the federal government couldn’t divert the money to other States who would use it for passenger rail.
This is the quickest response in federal bureaucracy history. It’s almost as if the Administration had already said no to Kasich at least half a dozen times already. Oh, wait, they had.
3C could be a major boost to Ohio’s manufacturing and urban renewal. Kasich is short sighted to reject this program while still clinging to an even more expensive, broad-based tax cut that is not targeted specifically for job creation.
Kasich should keep an open mind. Instead, he just wants the wind and the mountains to bend to his will instead.
The ironic thing is that the 3C plan would result in major rail upgrades that would also benefit the very freight rail he has publicly said he’d rather assist, a point that seems entirely LOST on Kasich.