Stay tuned as this will become a placeholder post for any further reactions we receive.
We’ve got reactions from State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) and State Assistant Minority Leader Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland).
“Like the investments that we are making in the Third Frontier Program, passenger rail was going to be a job-creating engine of growth for our state. Today’s announcement that 3-C&D passenger rail money will be redirected to other states will isolate Ohio from a growing, regional transportation network. And it closes the door on the creation of 16,000 permanent jobs. Worse yet, most of the track improvements funded by this money would also have benefited Ohio’s freight trains. Ohio was on track to recovery. Regrettably, this moment should teach all Ohio leaders a painful but valuable lesson: if we fail to commit to investing in our own state, then neither will the leaders in Washington.”
Senator Nina Turner (who in the interest of full disclosure, I used to work with in then Senate Minority Whip Rhine McLin’s (D-Dayton):
“I am deeply disappointed to learn that Ohio’s rail funds will be sent to other states. At a time when so many of our fellow Ohioans are breaking under the strain of financial hardship, I find it troubling that the Governor-elect is willing to sacrifice a $400 million infusion into our state’s economy that would put people back to work, create new industries and help revitalize our cities. Through my service as the Ranking Minority Member on the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee, I developed a thorough understanding of this project’s value to our state and find it highly unfortunate that Ohio will miss out on this once in a generation opportunity.
“On the campaign trail, Governor-elect Kasich promised to put Ohioans back to work. It is frustrating to learn that he is not willing to put politics aside to create jobs and move our state forward.”
“Today is one of the saddest days during my four years as governor,” Strickland said. “Because I see jobs leaving Ohio, I see resources leaving Ohio, I see vital infrastructure leaving Ohio. And I see other states being enriched by resources that would otherwise have created thousands of new jobs, revitalized our cities and helped keep our young people in Ohio. I can’t understand the logic of giving up these vital, job-creating resources to California and Florida at a time when so many Ohioans need jobs.”
“I fear that history will show that this one, uninformed decision will be looked upon with regret by future generations of Ohioans,” Strickland said.
“Governor-elect Kasich is disappointed that the White House is not giving Ohio the flexibility he has asked for to use the money for infrastructure needs like freight rail that can spur commerce and economic growth.
“Additionally, the Gov.-elect specifically asked that if the money could not be reprogrammed, then return it to the Treasury to reduce the deficit. He finds it tragic that instead of saving taxpayer money, they would simply waste it elsewhere. Washington needs to end its addiction to spending that is mortgaging our kids’ futures.”
[Editor’s Note: Kasich’s entire reaction is that he’s upset that Washington didn’t let him waste its money as he saw fit, so nobody should get to spend the money. He’s like a kid who can’t understand why his parents won’t give him the money to buy a car after they hear him talk about signing up for the demolition derby this weekend. The 3C plan would have done everything Kasich could have dreamed of doing for freight rail while adding the benefit of urban renewal by also adding passenger rail. Some in corporate world would have called that a “win-win.”]
Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish (D):
“Today Ohio has lost an important engine of economic recovery,” said Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish, D-Beachwood. “By giving away 400 million of our tax dollars … Gov.-elect Kasich has moved Ohio’s economic recovery off track.”