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Map: Local man thinks he has the answer to Ohio passenger rail

Map: Local man thinks he has the answer to Ohio passenger rail

Regina Fox

Kevin Verhoff really doesn’t like the idea of cars. He believes they’re “highly inefficient,” they take up a “ton of space,” and they cost a “lot of money,” not to mention the “ridiculous amounts of money” Ohio shells out on highways every year.

Instead, Verhoff would like to see the Buckeye State use its resources to build a comprehensive rail network, which looks a little something like this:

“Is this crazy? Yes. Would it be awesome? Yes,” wrote Verhoff.

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Not only would this proposed network “use technology and processes which are currently available (unlike the hyperloop),” according to Verhoff, there’s several more reasons to get onboard, literally:

  • It would serve 23 of Ohio’s 25 largest counties
  • With stops in 44 of Ohio’s counties, it would serve 9.6 Million residents (about 83% of Ohioans).
  • Cleveland to Columbus in about 2.5 hours.
  • Columbus to Cincy in 2 hours.
  • It could be part of a broader regional and national rail network that would connect Ohio to other major cities in the region, along with international connections in Canada.

Verhoff knew he couldn’t get this train on the tracks, literally, without a projected cost. He estimates that in total, the 1,800-mile project would bear a $8.98 billion price tag ($5 million per mile), spread out over 20 years.

“That’s about a 10% increase in ODOT’s annual budget!” Verhoff added.

No doubt that’s not a number to scoff at, but Verhoff believes the implication of passenger rail in Ohio would be much larger.

“Imagine someone being able to go from Sandusky to Cleveland for cancer treatments or a heart surgery, without having to pay $8000 per year to own a car,” he wrote. “Businesses would start to look to Ohio as an innovative place that creates opportunities and links human capital together. More importantly, people would just have more options for getting around. It’s not that expensive, and it would be life-changing for a lot of Ohioans.

“It’s a crazy idea. But, it’s also a really good idea,” Verhoff said.

To read more about Verhoff’s master plan for passenger rail in Ohio, click here.

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