Gang, meet the Westshore Corridor Transportation Project. It’s a plan to improve the existing freight rail line along Lake Erie, upgrade it, and start a commuter passenger rail service.
It won’t ever move faster than car traffic. It will require government subsidies to stay operational. And John Kasich’s campaign has told the Morning Journal that John Kasich supports it.
The project is entirely different from the 3C high speed railroad between Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, a $400 million program in the engineering phases, Erie County Commissioner Bill Monaghan said.
The 3C project was awarded $400 million in federal funding through the High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program. But this week, Kasich wrote to Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland to encourage the governor to terminate engineering work on the project
Kasich also wrote to President Obama to state he will terminate the 3C rail project upon taking office.
Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said the letters were all about the 3C project and do not reflect the governor-elect’s position on all rail programs in Ohio.
Kasich has “opposed it from virtually day one,” Nichols said, referring to the 3C rail. “His comments are specific.
(In case you were wondering, Bill Monaghan is a Democrat.)
And while Kasich doesn’t oppose the northern counties to conduct studies about a prospective commuter rail while he opposes ANY study for the 3C, there’s another huge difference between the two projects. The 3C plan could be operational within two years. The Westshore project? Not so much….
The Westshore rail project would take up to 10 years to come online, said Richard Enty, coordinator for the Westshore Corridor Transportation Project.
While it didn’t note the obvious hypocrisy of Governor-elect Kasich as it relates to the 3C/Westshore rail projects, the Dayton Daily News called Kasich’s opposition for what it really is—nothing more than partisan politics pure and simple:
Gov.-elect Kasich’s rationale is peculiarly weak. He said in an interview at this newspaper that he wasn’t merely against the proposed passenger trains in Ohio on grounds that it would be too slow, a complaint made by many. He said he didn’t see the need for passenger trains at any speed, just freight trains.
For a state that is so densely populated — making it an especially attractive market for trains — and that is surrounded by other states moving toward using passenger trains, that is a strange position.
In truth, Mr. Kasich gave the impression of not having given the issue much thought. For him, it just seemed to be one of those Obama things, a no-brainer.
I predict we’ll see a lot more “no-brainer” policy pronouncements during Governor Kasich’s term.