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Posts Tagged ‘3C’

Ted Strickland’s 3-C Slow Train PR Astroturf Campaign is Expensive!

March 22nd, 2010 Matt View Comments

From James Nash in The Dispatch:

Even before Ohio officials learned that they were landing a $400 million federal grant to restore rail service connecting major cities, they spent nearly $1 million on consultants to make environmental reviews, hold public workshops and pitch the train service to the public.

The state spent nearly $160,000 last year on a public-relations firm, Engage Communications, that was hired to promote the idea of linking Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati by passenger rail.

The Ohio Department of Transportation hired Engage Communications even though the department has an in-house public-relations staff and the Ohio Rail Development Commission has its own PR person. A private group, All Aboard Ohio, also is mounting a vigorous campaign on behalf of the rail plan.

Documents released by the state transportation agency show that even last year, the so-called 3C passenger-rail plan had become a $1 million bonanza for consultants, including a global infrastructure firm with 14,000 employees.

The firm, Parsons Brinckerhoff, announced Tuesday that it will complete a “variety of environmental documents for various components and design for the track and capacity improvements” necessary to convert freight rail lines to passenger use.

These are unbid contracts. Jolene Molitoris, the Ohio Department of Transposition Director who received degrees from Catholic University of America in engineering and economics SPEECH AND DRAMA, plans on asking the Controlling Board for $25 million for the final “environmental study.” Of course, you know that the likelihood of the report being bad news for Gov. Strickland’s proposal, right?

Thankfully, Senate President Bill Harris seems willing to fight. I received a number of PR emails via the USA Energy Advisors, which directed people to visit All Aboard Ohio, the Ohio Association of Railroad Passengers of Lakewood. That group is sponsored by Linking Ohio (and their corporate backers).

But money is also being thrown at Ohio Votes, which is really just a project of Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio which has a long history of working with ACORN. In fact, considering their funding sources and all the various organizations which seek the same objectives in this area, I don’t know what separates the two, other than names.

I have much more to say on this. These groups exist to try to pretend there is real grassroots support for this proposal. However, if these groups and paid “cheerleaders” are able to sell the people of Ohio a STUPID, SLOW TRAIN THAT GOES 39 MPH, then they are worth 10 times whatever they get.

Republicans Terry Casey and Scott Pullins Debate Strickland’s 3C Slow Train

March 3rd, 2010 Matt View Comments

Republican consultant Terry Casey debated Attorney Scott Pullins on liberal-pinhead Ann Fisher’s radio show on WOSU, All Sides. Fisher is lucky, as she may have found the only Ohioan who truly supports the 3-C train who also doesn’t work for an astroturf PR firm.

Click here to listen.

I understand Scott is trying to emulate conservative icon Paul Weyrich in his defense of trains, but there is no getting beyond the point that THE TRAIN GOES 39 MPH AND WILL BE QUITE INCONVENIENT! This entire project just has too much of a creepy-crawly centralized-planning feel to me.

Maybe Ted Strickland will hire Pullins to keep the train campaign on the tracks?

Er, on second thought I bet Ted will never get over the Pullins Report blog. (This is my favorite ONN moment of all time!):

Sen. Bill Harris Derails Ted Strickland’s 39MPH Slow-Train?

February 18th, 2010 Matt View Comments

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!:

Jeff Darcy on the “Ohio slow-speed rail”

February 5th, 2010 Matt View Comments

Funny stuff in The Plain Dealer:

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Matt Mayer on Ted Strickland’s 3C Slow Train

February 5th, 2010 Matt View Comments

A great interview from Bob Connors with Buckeye Institute President Matt Mayer on 610 AM WTVN in Columbus:

If we didn’t have leaders like Gov. Strickland who would rather focus on gimmicks and Federal pork than improving the state’s business and tax climate, perhaps Bob Connors wouldn’t have been scared out of the state. (Most listeners don’t know, but he frequently does his show from his home in Florida, a state with no income tax.)

Considering how cutting-edge a 39 mph train is, perhaps Strickland’s next innovative plan will involve telegraph lines, river boats, or perhaps a horse-drawn carriage taxi service?

Ted Strickland’s “C3″ Slow-Train Gets Shorter

August 24th, 2009 Matt Comments off

From the Akron Beacon Journal:

COLUMBUS: A plan seeking federal stimulus money to restore passenger train service among Ohio’s major cities leaves out Akron and a stop at the U.S. Air Force museum near Dayton, transportation officials said.

The state is racing to develop a plan and apply for stimulus money by an Oct. 2 deadline, said Stu Nicholson, spokesman for the Ohio Rail Development Commission, the agency in charge of submitting the application.

Some potential stops have been dropped from consideration to keep travel time on the 250-mile route connecting Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati to about six hours, which would be competitive with highway driving times along the same corridor, he said.

Incorporating Akron to the route would add about one hour and 30 minutes to the train’s travel time.

Both Akron and Riverside, which is next to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, could be added as startup operations expand, but for now, neither fits in, Nicholson said.

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