Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Columbus and Pittsburgh Make a Great One-Two Punch

Three Scale Research just published their findings in an updated look at population within a 500-mile radius of the nation's largest cities.  See the findings in a summation online.

The places that rank highest on this measure are the most important for transportation and logistics.

Columbus is number 1.  That means the Columbus MSA, of which Licking County is a significant part, is closer to a larger population within a day's drive (500 miles) than any other city in the U.S. 

It's especially interesting to note that Pittsburgh is number 2.

That means Licking County is poised between the two largest population-serving markets in the United States.

However, we shouldn't rest on our laurels.  The highway and railway links between Columbus and Pittsburgh are in need of improvement. 

To get between the two on interstate highways, one must do a reverse, 90-degree turn from I-79 at Washington, PA and go through a one-lane tunnel at Wheeling, WV on I-70. 

To go via rail, freight must first go north or south to come back to the other marketplace.  The main connecting railway was removed by Conrail decades ago.

Just imagine the economic benefits of better linking these two strategically-located markets!

This, alone, is a reason for Columbus and Pittsburgh interests to continue to focus advocacy on ways to improve access. 
For one, the Columbus-Pittsburgh Corridor highway improvements in Ohio, though stalled by tight state budgets and the lack of a federal highway bill, should remain a priority of this three-state region.  Here's hoping the communities never give up the fight!
Secondly, continued state ownership and advancement of improvements to the Panhandle Rail Line is also critical.  Should slowed highway improvements and increased manufacturing push more freight to rail lines, this line's importance will grow more and more in coming years. 
Both of these concepts translate to more efficient movement of goods between Columbus and Pittsburgh, the nation's top one-two punch for serving the most people in the country.

No comments:

Post a Comment