Last month, the Ohio Department of Transportation announced that the proposed 3C railway connecting Ohio’s 3 largest cities suddenly would be faster than their previous estimates. If you remember, the previous schedule would have taken about 6 hours to get from Cleveland to Cincinnati, with an average speed of 39 mph. Yet, all of a sudden, now they say that the trip can be made in 5 hours 12 minutes.
Funny how the trip gets shorter as we get closer to the election, eh Governor? Last year, the ODT said that the trip couldn’t be covered in less the 5 hours 20 minutes, even if the train didn’t stop. Since trying to board a moving train, even at a blazing fast 39 mph, is quite dangerous, the required stops brought the trip to the 6 hour mark.
Now, all of a sudden, the train will average 50 mph. So, what changed? A consultant in California ran a new computer model. He must have had lots of information and cooperation from the railroad companies who actually, you know, own the track, right?
Not only weren’t the 3 railroads even consulted on the new schedule, they still haven’t even seen it.
Any changes to the schedule require approval from the three freight railroads that own the 258 miles of track that the 3C passenger trains would use.
State transportation planners acknowledge that CSX, Norfolk Southern and Rail America not only have not agreed to the proposed passenger train schedule, but they haven’t even seen it.
The freight railroads operate trains as fast as 60 mph along the corridor.
“We really need to talk to the railroads,” said Don Damron, chief planner for the Ohio Rail Development Commission, which is part of the state Transportation Department. “Chances are, we will continue to decrease this schedule over long-term investments in the corridor.”
Cooperation from the freight railroads is crucial for the state to hit its speed target, said C. Kenneth Orski, a Maryland-based transit consultant not involved in the Ohio project.
“Only they can tell you authoritatively whether (the state’s) estimates are accurate or not,” he said.
Also suspicious is this:
Woodside Consulting Group ran its computer analysis showing the 50-mph speed Sept. 30. The state, however, had released the higher speed estimates six days earlier.
So, Ted’s ODT announced the faster speed of the train days before the magical new simulation was even run?
You don’t think Ted Strickland’s administration would fudge the numbers to make this proposal look less stupid before the election, do you?
Gov. Ted Strickland’s transportation advisers insist that they didn’t develop the new speed profile to deflect political criticism of the $400 million project.
Of course they didn’t. What was I thinking?