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Laying Track for Amtrak's Expansion

Rick Buchanan Photography

In much of the world, a major capital city without passenger trains would be unthinkable, yet that’s been the case in Columbus since 1979. With the last Amtrak train’s departure that year, Central Ohio bet all its transportation chips on cars, buses, and airplanes, and the area’s transit puzzle has been without passenger trains of any kind since then, earning Columbus the dubious distinction of today being the country’s second largest city without any passenger rail service at all (Phoenix is the largest).

Amtrak’s return to Ohio has been long-discussed and debated: former Governor Ted Strickland felt trains were important to the state’s economic development, but his successor John Kasich, did not, and in 2010, Kasich rejected a $17M annual subsidy to keep passenger trains running in Central Ohio as too expensive. With the passage of President Biden’s new Federal infrastructure bill in 2022, which included $2.3B to expand Amtrak, plus encouraging signals from the administration of current Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, is the stage finally set for Amtrak’s return to Central Ohio?

Featuring William Murdock, Executive Director, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, Erin Rosiello, Vice Chair, All Aboard Ohio, and Arun Rao, Director of Network Development, Amtrak, with host Elizabeth Blount McCormick, President and Owner, Uniglobe Travel Designers.

 Important Announcement 

We will be temporarily holding our weekly forums at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center, (which has free on-site parking), and serving box lunches. This change in venue is due to remodeling at the Boat House due to water damage from a ruptured sprinkler head during the holiday cold snap.