A proposal from Amtrak would add five passenger rail routes in Ohio, if it receives funding, and it should.

The plan would add multiple daily routes linking major cities in Ohio, reaching out as far as Detroit, Pittsburgh, New York and Chicago.

Stu Nicholson, executive director of All Aboard Ohio, said the state is the nation’s most populous state without such a service. All Aboard Ohio is an advocacy group that supports increased public transportation in the Buckeye State.

Amtrak’s most quickly growing area of service is short routes — 500 miles or fewer — and Ohio seems right for this kind of development. The company cites population growth, changing demographics, travel preferences and environmental concerns as reasons the addition of routes in Ohio would work. Amtrak hopes to continue expanding such routes across the country, linking metropolitan areas.

The additional routes would allow Amtrak to add jobs and improved transportation to larger cities would open up job opportunities for Ohioans.

For the project to take off, a federal transportation bill must pass the U.S. House and Senate. In the past, a similar bill passed the House but failed to get approval in the Senate. Experts say the bill has a chance under the Biden administration with Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary.

Even though projections show it would be five years before passengers would be aboard, we hope Amtrak's proposal to expand its routes in Ohio is successful and we hope it will be affordable. It is the first step toward expansion of rail service in the United States. Surely such routes would come to Kentucky. Easier and affordable travel would provide economic opportunities, as well as opportunities for personal growth through travel, and would help reduce polluting emissions, and that’s good for Earth.

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