In a bold essay, Ken Prendregast of All Aboard Ohio lays down the law in the Columbus Dispatch on passenger rail in the modern economy. (I am envious that I did not write this myself!) Finally somebody calls out the greedy highway interests which hold this nation in an ungodly strangle hold. It is an insightful item. Read it all here.
It is apparent that the Ohio Contractors Association, which represents the highway-contracting industry and lobbies for increasing gasoline taxes, has been feeding at the highway-funding trough for so long that it believes that our gasoline taxes are an ever-expanding entitlement program for its own benefit. Travel between major cities in Ohio continues to be important for our economic vitality and growth. I agree that the highway system is the primary means of transporting individuals and goods within and through Ohio and needs to be in a state of good repair.
We have built more than 124,885 miles of roadways in Ohio, including more than 1,500 miles of interstate highways. But, despite improvements, widening and expansion of the system, highway congestion continues to worsen. Highway planners long have known that we cannot build our way out of congestion. The Ohio 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force examined what Ohio’s future transportation needs are. The task force hosted several regional meetings, and the people of Ohio spoke out in favor of greatly expanded public transportation and passenger-rail services.
The task force recommended the initiation of passenger-rail service. Fourteen other states, with just one having more population density than Ohio, support regional Amtrak services. They do so because they receive a high return on their relatively small investments.