Nearly 500 companies in seven states across the region that could profit from rail expansion have been identified in a new report from the Environmental Law and Policy Center.
Deputy Director Kevin Brubaker says in Ohio, there are at least 122 of those businesses, more than any other Midwestern state.
To have federally funded routes, Ohio must first sponsor the development of high-performance trains, stations and infrastructure. But the latest proposed budget for the Ohio Department of Transportation doesn't include that sponsorship, at least for the next two years.
All Aboard Ohio has been working to improve passenger rail service throughout the state. Its executive director, Ken Prendergast, says this report shows that Ohio is missing out on a good opportunity.
Prendergast points out that there are actually more suppliers in the Buckeye State than are listed in the report. According to the most recent Ohio Department of Transportation analysis, more than 200 railroad suppliers employ 26-thousand people in Ohio.