Sunday, November 21, 2010

Continue on Columbus-Pittsburgh Corridor Committee, Continue On

I couldn't attend the recent meeting of the Columbus-Pittsburgh Corridor Committee, but my thoughts were with them.  The Committee met and learned the results of a recent study from ODOT recommending the Newcomerstown-Cadiz piece not proceed to construction anytime soon.

I e-mailed my thoughts in advance to the Co-Chairmen and a Committee member who asked for my thoughts.

What I wrote was this:

Who knows the future? What view of the future did the consultants use?  The study, inevitably, used a view of the future of Eastern Ohio being like its recent past—shrinking populations and shrinking manufacturing base resulting in shrinking car usage and shrinking truck traffic.

That’s not a vision that should be used, frankly.  I think the potential is much, much greater.  I don’t think the Committee should share that dim view.

I shared with you the future view of America in the book The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050. In this book, Joel Kotkin makes a fact-based case that the U.S. will grow to 400+ million people and manufacturing will revive in the Midwest.

Places in Eastern Ohio closely resemble the type of communities that Kotkin envisions will benefit from the type of America we can expect to see in the next 40 years.  Building new highways to accommodate growing populations and resurgent manufacturing is key in that scenario.  Plus, those highways need to be “green” by connecting to waterways and rail which the Columbus-Pittsburgh Corridor does.

The Bottom Line:  I hope the committee remains committed to advancing these key projects despite the doom and gloom of this study.  The future key to the Newcomerstown-Cadiz section ever getting constructed potentially rests in the completion of the Cherry Valley Interchange and the Coshocton-Dresden piece.

All along when many of us first fought for this section of highway it was on the premise that the state had already committed to completing those projects. The fact that these projects got delayed and never built is, in part, a good reason was the Newcomerstown-Cadiz piece is considered a tough-to-justify project today.

We may have to be more patient for a time when government revenue is able to support it, but we should use this setback to motivate us to double our efforts.

No comments:

Post a Comment