Sen. Bill Harris Derails Ted Strickland’s 39MPH Slow-Train?
Big news from Columbus Business First:
The Republican offensive on the state’s plans to use $400 million in federal stimulus funding to develop a trans-Ohio passenger train line has left the station.
Senate President Bill Harris, R-Ashland, in a letter sent to Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland lobbed a host of questions on the proposed 3-C rail system that was awarded $400 million from Congress’ stimulus program last month. Harris wrote he’s seeking answers on behalf of the Republican members of the state Controlling Board, the state body that holds the key to unlocking the funding.[...]
Columbus Business First reported Feb. 12 that approval of the federal stimulus funding will require the yes vote of at least one Republican member of the Controlling Board, on which four Democrats and three Republicans sit. Harris told Business First Republicans inserted a provision in the 2009 state transportation bill requiring a super-majority of five votes for any capital spending on passenger rail to give the GOP leverage.
“Based on what I have learned thus far, I am not convinced that the proposed 3-C rail project put forth by your administration is the best use of our tax dollars,” Harris wrote to Strickland. “I am concerned that considering the tenuous structure of our state budget, Ohio does not have adequate resources to get the 3-C corridor up and running (even with $400 million from the federal government), that we will be unable to afford the cost of operating this service once it is restored, and that the speed and schedule of the trains as presented to date, virtually guarantee that few Ohioans will ride, which will require even greater taxpayer subsidies.”
Here is the full letter:
Marc Kovac posted video of Sen. Harris answering questions about this here.
Even with Amtrack’s obvious bias, they estimate that it would cost Ohio taxpayers at least $17 million/year. Which of course means you can probably multiply that number by 4 or 5 times to get the real number.
Sen. Harris’ questions are simply devastating. Harris wasn’t the Republican Party’s best friend on the state budget, but he deserves praise for this.
I still can’t stop watching this hilariously awkward “Cheerleaders for Failure” video from Marc Kovac (posted Feb. 9), so here it is again. Chooooo-choooooooooo!: