Intercity Rail in Texas, Ohio; Changes to Honolulu's Rail Plan

Ohio’s Governor Ted Strickland prioritizes new “3-C” rail connection between Cincinnati and Cleveland, through Columbus

In yesterday’s State of the State address, Governor Ted Strickland (D) announced that he’d be working towards the development of a new rail corridor – the 3C – between Cincinnati and Cleveland, via Dayton and Columbus, connecting the states’ four largest metropolitan areas and implementing the first phase 0f the Ohio Hub plan.

This will be the first time in forty years that Ohio’s major cities have been connected by rail – and will mark the first rail service for Columbus, the state capital, in decades. According to the Toledo Blade, however, residents of the state’s fifth largest metro area were a bit dismayed by the lack of proposed service for Toledo. On the other hand, the Ohio Hub’s second phase proposes improving the existing train line between Cleveland and Chicago, which would

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HSR in New York Advances; Honolulu Transit Tax Under Threat

HSR Between New York, Albany, and Buffalo Gains Support From a New Senator

New New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D), who was appointed by Governor David Paterson after Hillary Clinton resigned to become Secretary of State, has declared her intentions to push for high-speed rail in New York State. Ms. Gillibrand met yesterday with Ms. Clinton, Mr. Paterson, and Senator Chuck Schumer (D) to discuss their priorities for the state, and Ms. Gillibrand excitedly told the press that all four were ready to work towards better rail in the Empire State. According to the Village Voice, she said “One area that we all agree on is that we really want high-speed rail,” excellent news for New Yorkers whose Upstate congressional delegation has recently been fighting to push the issue to the front burner.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D) told the Niagara Gazette that high-speed rail was the top priority for that delegation, and that they have already met

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Detroit Mass Transit; San Francisco Congestion Pricing; Honolulu Impeachment?

The Detroit Free Press reports today on Detroit’s rapidly advancing plans for a light rail system in that city’s core. The first segment, as we’ve reported before, will be a 3.4-mile line running from Downtown to New Center along Woodward Avenue (which is now being called The Regional Area Initial Link, TRAIL). There continues to be some confusion about whether this project will replace, compete with, or merge with the Detroit Department of Transportation’s proposed Woodward Light Rail line. We’re betting on a merger.

Other phases of the project, which has been approved by the state legislature and the local council of governments, will extend the system for another 5 miles along Woodward, as well as add a commuter rail line to Ann Arbor and install a network of rapid buses throughout the 900,000-person city.

The project plans to apply for funding from the coming stimulus bill, making it the

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Chicago to Benefit from Obama Election; Beijing Commuter Rail; ARC Costs a Lot More

Finally, the end of a long and dramatic week!

The Wall Street Journal had a nice report today about the potential benefits of an Obama Presidency for Chicago, which needs funding for transit as well as for its fledging 2016 Olympics bid. It’s not hard to imagine that Obama will focus on his adopted home town, especially now that his White House Chief of Staff will be Rahm Emanuel, another Chicago native. Also, one of the new co-chairs of his transition team, Valerie Jarrett, who is the chair of the University of Chicago Medical Center’s Board, once was the chair the Chicago Transit Authority and worked in the city planning agency. She will be a strong proponent of transit and smart growth and she’s a good addition to the Obama team.

We will be discussing Obama’s influence on specific local projects, including the Chicago Olympics bid, in a post this weekend.

In

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CAHSR May Get Federal Funds; Honolulu LRT to be Re-routed; London Transit Plans Shrink

Now that the election’s over, we can start talking about some of the consequences. The most important event Tuesday night was the decision by California voters to approve a $10 billion bond for high-speed rail in that state, and the High-Speed Rail Authority there is already beginning work. Though construction won’t begin until 2010 at the earliest, the Authority has already been allocated $40 million for the completion of the environmental studies. But the main task of the agency will have to be finding the other $22 billion that will be necessary to complete the first link, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, with an extension to Anaheim. This money is expected to come from federal and private sources.

Some of the $1.5 billion recently allocated by Congress for rail projects will probably go to California. But Democrats have previously promised a lot more funding for high-speed rail,

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  • by Yonah Freemark
  • Twitter: @yfreemark
  • yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com
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