Hamilton’s vice mayor hopeful local students will write to Ohio leaders about Amtrak stops

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Michael Ryan seeks support in lobbying governor

Hamilton Vice Mayor Michael Ryan, who in November announced the city was working “full steam ahead” to win train stations on two Amtrak routes, recently told the Hamilton Board of Education he hopes city students will join the effort to lobby Gov. Mike DeWine and local lawmakers on the matter.

“Now is the time to get the attention of state leaders and our governor to get this project in motion,” Ryan told the school board. “They will need to officially approve Amtrak’s expansion plans for our stops to become a reality.”

Hamilton is hoping to join Oxford with a stop on the Cardinal line, which connects Washington, D.C. with Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Chicago. The two Butler County cities are hoping that with recent passage of federal infrastructure legislation, more trains will be added to that route, giving passengers more options to ride to those cities.

The city also hopes Amtrak will create a new route linking Cincinnati, Dayton, Springfield, Columbus and Cleveland. Although a proposal several years ago had the nearest stop to Butler County on that proposed route in Sharonville, using a different rail line than the CSX line through Hamilton and Middletown.

At that time, then-Gov. John Kasich returned $400 million to the federal government that would have helped fund a similar expansion.

What will DeWine do?

Gov. DeWine’s office hasn’t said which way he is leaning on that issue.

“We continue to review the recently passed federal infrastructure bill as it relates to passenger rail and have not made any further comments at this time,” Dan Tierney, his press secretary, told the Journal-News Wednesday.

Stu Nicholson, executive director of the rail advocacy group All Aboard Ohio, said, “The governor’s office has been very mum. They’re taking the stance of ‘We’re still studying it,’ which kind of puzzles us, since the plan’s been out there for over a year now.”

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

“I am totally in favor of that,” Nicholson said about a student letter-writing campaign. “I think that’s a great idea. We’re urging our own members to especially concentrate on members of the General Assembly to step up and tell the governor to support Amtrak’s expansion plans for the whole state.”

To me, these aren’t just letters,” Ryan told the school board. “They are testimonies from the hearts and minds of our young people, the future generation. This the group who will be beneficiaries of the groundwork and foundations that we, as current elected leaders, build for them.”

ExploreHamilton working full steam ahead on Amtrak stops

Ryan said a letter-writing campaign would be “a great opportunity for the students to get involved with a current city issue that will affect their future and to be a part of the lobbying effort to get the stops in Hamilton,” he said. “This will also make the students study and learn about this issue and be directly involved with its outcome.”

Hamilton High School Principal Jon Szary on Wedneday said he hadn’t heard about Ryan’s proposal but wanted to look into it.

ExploreHamilton planning new Amtrak stations, including possibly near the relocated CSX depot

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