Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sen Sherrod Brown (OH-DEM) Railroad to Nowhere

The statement below is the latest installment newsletter from Senator Sherrod Brown (my congress-critter) updating the Citizenry of Ohio on the goings on from statist central.

Railroad Investment Means Jobs in Ohio

Ohio workers know how to build big things. Every day, a plane flies powered by parts built by Ohio workers. Cars and trucks are driven with engines and brake pads built by workers in Defiance and Lordstown. Up and down the Ohio turnpike, manufacturers are building the parts for next-generation clean energy vehicles and technologies. And today, Ohio manufacturers rank fifth in the nation in building the components for our nation’s trains.

If we want to be number one in the nation – and if we want to create more jobs – then we need to make the right investments in rail. Last January, President Obama announced an $8 billion investment in a national rail network – the largest investment in public transportation since President Eisenhower established the national highways system in the 1950s.

Ohio received $400 million of this historic investment, which recognizes our state’s critical role in connecting the nation’s passenger rail system. The proposed 3-C-D line – connecting Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton – is one of the most densely populated corridors in the country without passenger rail. More than half of all Ohioans – nearly six million people – live within 15 miles of the proposed 256-mile passenger line.

And when the line is finished, Ohioans will not only be able to connect to the great cities of our state, but also to Chicago in the west and New York City in the east.

European countries and China already have committed hundreds of billions of dollars in rail spending – connecting workers with new jobs, expanding the markets of businesses, and making travel efficient and more affordable for millions of people. We can do the same thing in our country. Instead of sending our dollars to foreign manufacturers, we can ensure that manufacturers are building the trains right here in Ohio.

Earlier this month, I was in Dayton visiting a company that has been manufacturing parts for freight and passenger locomotives for more than 70 years. Another company, based in Columbus, wants to build rail cars in Ohio using Ohio-made component parts. Governor Ted Strickland has met with more companies across Ohio who are ready to do the same.

Ohio’s $400 million in federal rail investments can help these companies – and companies across Ohio – create thousands of jobs for engineers and construction and factory workers. It would help these companies expand their markets and supplier network – as more states invest in rail, they can turn to Ohio manufacturers to meet their demand for rail technologies and products.

Simply put, investing in rail would increase economic opportunities for our manufacturers and create the kind of 21st century manufacturing jobs that Ohio’s workers are prepared to handle. And it would mean tens of millions of dollars in economic development not only in our large urban cities, but also in smaller towns along the route lines.

Our state can’t afford to miss out on these jobs and opportunities. We cannot let other states reap millions of dollars of federal benefits at our expense. That’s what would happen if Ohio decides to turn away its $400 million investment in our transportation future – states like Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois will happily accept our share of the investment.

Ohio needs a long-term vision when it comes to one of our strongest selling points: our transportation infrastructure and the manufacturers behind it. And our state’s progress depends on creating jobs, promoting economic development, and ensuring our businesses have the resources they need to compete with anyone.

With rail construction moving ahead across the Midwest and the nation, Ohio cannot afford to be left at the station.

Comment: If Ohio moves forward with this silly rail project we'll be left with is a whole lot of train track, no one riding it and higher state taxes to pay for the scheme when the federal government abandons the program.

When you consider that Ohio is 48th in the country concerning overall business climate, then what we really need is tax and business regulation reform. However, if Senator Brown had understood the problems festering in our state he'd see this. But instead he's willing to spend federal tax dollars taken from people in Vermont, Idaho, Texas, Georgia, to name a few, to fund a wasteful project that is destine to fail, just like every mass transit program current being run in Ohio.

This is why we need to repeal both the 17th and 16th Amendments. We need to take away the power of the few and return it to states and the citizens.

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