For immediate release
Contact: Ken Prendergast, All Aboard Ohio Executive Director, 216-288-4883
Summary of Ohio Rally4Trains events:
- Columbus – 11 am Friday June 23rd – NW corner of High Street and Nationwide Blvd, downtown
- Cleveland – 12 noon Friday June 23rd – Amtrak station, 200 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, downtown
- Toledo – 3 pm Saturday June 24th – MLK Plaza/Amtrak station, 300 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, south of downtown
With these rallies, All Aboard Ohio proudly and actively supports the National Association of Railroad Passengers’ (NARP) campaign to respond loudly to the Trump Administration’s proposed budget that would eliminate all funding for passenger trains and public transportation. Our active support will be expressed on June 23rd and 24th at three rallies in Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo. Other rallies will be held across the country CLICK HERE FOR MORE.
Towns without trains have fewer jobs, less tourism, lower economic activity, lower real estate values, less healthy people, more traffic congestion, less mobility and fewer travel options. Eliminating funding for Amtrak would have a profound negative impact on every intercity, rapid transit and commuter rail passenger in the country. More than 220 communities across the country and over 40 million riders will lose their service.
COLUMBUS is our cautionary tale of what happens when a major city loses passenger train service. It is extremely hard to get trains back. When Columbus lost Amtrak’s New York-Kansas City National Limited due to federal budget cuts on Sept. 30, 1979, it has since gone more than 13,750 days without passenger rail service. Columbus is the largest city in the western hemisphere and possibly the world without any regularly scheduled passenger trains (urban light-rail, regional commuter, intercity Amtrak etc). Columbus would be an even more vibrant, sustainable city with passenger rail.
Please join the Columbus Rally4Trains at 11 a.m. Friday June 23rd at the corner of High Street and Nationwide Blvd in downtown Columbus — across the street from where Columbus Union Station stood.
CLEVELAND will not only lose its Amtrak trains immediately but also its rapid transit trains in 5-10 years under the administration’s proposed cuts. Cleveland’s rail transit system is already facing a half-billion dollar backlog of unfunded state-of-good-repair needs. Its loss as well as many bus routes will mean that tens of thousands of people each day won’t be able to get to work, school, health care or shopping. On Amtrak, more than 650,000 passengers a year use the four daily trains through Cleveland, including nearly 50,000 boardings at Cleveland in 2016. Any hope for service improvements and expansion will disappear along with them.
Please join the Cleveland Rally4Trains at 12 noon Friday June 23rd at the Cleveland Amtrak station, 200 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway in downtown Cleveland — where the city’s planned Lakefront Multi-modal Transportation Center is planned. Special guest is Steve Vagnozzi, Chair, Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers.
TOLEDO is Ohio’s busiest train station where not only Amtrak trains but Amtrak buses, Greyhound buses and Toledo Area RTA buses all converge in a single transportation center. The MLK Plaza station has offices in the building above and a Subway restaurant in the station below. That station stays busy ’round the clock with rail and bus passengers traveling to places near and fare. This multi-modal station is an example for the rest of Ohio to follow. That example will fade away without federal Amtrak and public transportation funds, making it more difficult for Toledoans to travel within their city and to other cities.
Please join the Toledo Rally4Trains at 3 p.m. Saturday June 24th at MLK Plaza/Amtrak station, 300 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, south of downtown. It is also the site of a major community redevelopment effort that will not succeed without federal funds. Special guest speaker is Bruce Becker, Vice President of the National Association of Railroad Passengers.
Here are some other impacts of these destructive federal funding cuts:
- The Federal Railroad Administration (see midwestrailplan.org) and states surrounding Ohio (Pennsylvania may soon plan expansion west to Cleveland, Toledo and Chicago) are seeking passenger rail improvements that serve Ohio. West Virginia’s legislature and governor passed a law to create a Cardinal Compact to increase Amtrak Cardinal service to daily. If we lose our existing train services, we cannot improve them.
- Restoring lost trains is extremely difficult. Columbus and Dayton lost their Amtrak train services in 1979 as a result of federal budget cuts. Akron and Youngstown lost their trains in 2005. None have returned due to the difficulty of restoring lost trains or instituting new services.
- The existing Amtrak trains that travel through Cleveland and Toledo each night are used by 650,000 people per year, enough to fill every seat on more than a dozen Boeing 737 jets per day. There are nearly 50,000 people who boarded Amtrak trains last year in Cleveland, an increase of nearly 40 percent over the past decade. More than 55,000 people boarded Amtrak trains in Toledo in 2016.
- Despite having only five trains a day serving Ohio, Amtrak in 2016 spent $30 million into Ohio’s economy buying goods and services from Ohio companies. That includes Ohio Amtrak employees buying $6.45 million worth of goods and services (multiplier of 1.5 on base wages of $4.3 million).
- All Ohio Amtrak trains (part of the National Network) would end as a result of the proposed budget cuts, and force increased costs and the loss of connecting revenues to state-supported trains in two dozen states, many of which may not be able to afford them anymore.
Please join us at these important events to raise public awareness of this critical issue!