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31 March 2009

Good News for Ohio (and those traveling to and through it)

A few updates:

Look above: what do you see? That is a map of proposed passenger rail service in Ohio by ODOT. Ohio Republicans and Democrats came together, along with Governor Strickland to write a $9.6 billion state transportation budget, including funding for building a $250 million passenger rail project. I must say that I'm proud of all state representatives for coming together in a bipartisian fashion for the betterment of the future of Ohio.

This is especially significant because the state legislature needed to come together to pass this bill in order to remain competetive for Federal Stimulus money, which will be needed to bring the Ohio Hub project to fruition. Above is a map of the proposed project. The first proposed corridors are denoted in blue and the corresponding number shows the amount of daily trips on each leg. Future corridors are in orange and purple. Ohio just became one step closer to high speed passenger rail service, which will enable people to travel between Ohio metro areas easily and cheaply and without a driver's license. An added benefit includes updated crossings and infrastructure that will enable Ohio freight railway lines to remain competitive as well. Here's to moving forward!

On another note truckers will be able to drive 65 mph, as opposed to 55mph on Ohio's interstates. This is included in the state transportation bill and is well overdue. According to one of my truck driving friends: Ohio is one of the worst states to drive through due to speed limitations. It is one of few states to have a lower truck speed limit. I am unsure of the safety issues involved, but am sure that Ohio businesses along interstates will receive more traffic due to more companies choosing to drive through Ohio if possible. The only downside may include safety issues and more crowded roadways. This section of the bill may be vetoed by Governor Strickland.

Lastly...and on a happy note: Ferry service from the Port of Lorain to the Lake Erie Islands is underway. The Lorain Port Authority has accepted two bids, of $1.6 million and $1.9 million, to purchase a ferry. The service will be 70 minute trips (each way) to and around the islands once daily Friday through Sunday. The ferry can hold 149 passengers and should begin service by the Fourth of July this year. The service is undoubtedly beneficial to the Greater Cleveland and "Vacationland" areas of Ohio, as it will allow transportation options between the areas and will increase activity in Lorain and the islands. Increasing connectivity between destinations will undoubtedly contribute to Ohio's economy and will make enjoyable local vacationing for Northeast Ohioians that much easier.

09 March 2009

Ohio Wins Expanded Facilities Award

Congratulations, Ohio, and Governor Strickland...for the third year in a row you've won Site Selection Magazine's coveted Governor's Cup Award for new and expanded facilities. See here for full story:
Overall Ohio had the most amount of new/expanded facilities in 2008: 503. Governor Strickland and Lt. Governor Lee Fisher are gaining praise from the Ohio Economic Stimulus Bill, passed in 2008, which put an economic plan into place that included incentives and investments in the facilities industry. The plan also puts resources into education, energy as well as infrastructure projects. Similarly the State of Ohio will receive 8.2 billion dollars from the Economic Stimulus Plan. This money will go towards like projects in infrastructure and education.
It should be noted that Michigan and Pennsylvanian Governor's received high marks as well, with Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan in 3rd place and Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania in 4th place. Indiana and Illinois were also in the top ten. GO RUST BELT! Way to be innovative!