Tuesday, June 2, 2009

WCRX-LP Editorial collective asks: Casino passenger trains in Ohio?

Casino passenger trains in Ohio? Sounds like a sensible idea to us.

Another casino initiative petition is being circulated for signatures in Ohio. If successful, casino gambling will be permitted in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo.

State and federal budgets are providing money for passenger rail service in Ohio. The state funding will establish new passenger rail service connecting Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland. There is existing Amtrak passenger service to Toledo.

Almost the same list of cities will be effected by both of these issues.

Yet, the casino proposal and the passenger rail budgets are independent public issues.

Neither proposal mentions the other. Casino gambling ignores passenger rail and passenger rail ignores the casinos.


It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to recognize that the casino proposal and passenger rail service funding should be coordinated.

For example:

Rail passenger terminals could be located near casinos.

Casinos could be located in passenger terminals.

Casino rail cars could be added to passenger trains.

Earlier this year, the Ohio General Assembly enacted an $8.4 billion transportation budget. Included in that budget is rail passenger funding contingent on the results of a ridership study scheduled for this summer.

What are the odds that the ridership survey asks questions about whether consumers might use passenger rail service to visit Ohio casinos?

Cincinnati is also seeking federal stimulus funding for a new passenger terminal or improvements at the existing Union Terminal.

Is there any chance that upgrading Union Terminal or finding a new location for a passenger terminal includes consideration of the casino gambling proposal?

There is also an $8 billion federal commitment to funding for high speed passenger rail service. Existing Ohio Amtrak service and the proposed Three-C corridor passenger service is in the competition for this federal funding.

Do you want to bet that the casino gambling proponents aren’t considering how this federal money will effect casino gambling in Ohio?

It makes sense for the proponents of these two issues to start talking to each other.


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Design is copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation. Text is copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Editorial Collective.

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