Lots of Good Reasons for the Proposed Columbus-Chicago Rail Link
It’s 300 miles from Columbus, Ohio, to Chicago, and a lot of people are making that trek every day… not just from Columbus, but from cities large and small along the way. Fort Wayne, Indiana, for example. Or Gary, Indiana.
The trouble is, it’s a terrible drive. People in Columbus make the trip to Chicago by going through Indianapolis or by way of Fort Wayne. But either way it’s more than 350 miles and takes a little over six hours … and that’s assuming ideal traffic conditions.
Flying is an option, but not a particularly attractive one. There are all the usual hassles and frustrations, of course; the fare is more than $100 each way; and you’ll end up at O’Hare and have the additional expense of getting into downtown.
But now come the good folks at the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association who have produced a feasibility study that is opening eyes. They’re proposing a rail link between the Ohio capital and Chicago that would reduce travel time between those two cities to three hours, 45 minutes!
In addition to making the trip to Chicago a relaxing, comfortable, civilized experience, the NIPRA study says the project would create 12,000 temporary jobs and more than 26,000 permanent ones. In addition, the study predicts a $7 billion boost for the area’s businesses. In terms of ridership, the study estimates 2.1 million passengers a year by 2020, increasing to 3.3 million over the next decade.
There will be opposition, of course. There always is. And dealing with the anti-rail folks is difficult because they actually think “It’s just another damn gummint boondoggle” and “Nobody’s gonna ride the damn thing” are valid arguments.
As we say here in Hawaii, “’As why hahd!” (That’s why it’s hard.)