Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Rail Line and Personal Milestone

I unearthed this letter from a box of files that were my files back in 1991 to 1994.  Now, they are in the possession of the Ohio Historical Society.

This letter was in a file that, frankly, may be the only file of mine truly worthy of being housed at the Ohio Historical Society.  It's my file on the Panhandle Rail Line acquisition.

A milestone is about to be hit when the Ohio Rail Development Commission makes it's last payment on the bonds (technically Certificates of Participation or COPS) that were issued to buy the line from Conrail back in the 2Q of 1992.

This 160-mile line is still state-owned and, hopefully, will be for at least another 20+ years into the future.

The bond pay-off date milestone is a significant one.

I suppose, in part, because I am still active with the Panhandle in a small way like I was, in a small way, back in 1992, I was asked to provide a quote for possible inclusion in the news release about it.

I'm not sure when (or if) this news release runs, but in case it gets lost in translation, here's what I gave:

“The Panhandle Rail Line is a shining example of one of Ohio’s greatest public-private partnerships.  Public ownership has preserved the lines for industry and promised a more stable future for the communities while private operation has kept the trains running and shippers happy.  Our Port Authority believes in a strong future for manufacturing in Ohio and have invested millions of dollars in preparing rail-served industrial sites along the Panhandle Line in Licking County to take advantage of the unique capabilities.  We’re bullish on the next 20 years being as successful as the past 20, even better, because of the strengths of that public-private partnership.”

There's a personal side to all this too.  My father, John Platt, was the ODOT Assistant Director who led the state's charge on this Panhandle Rail issue back in 1991-1992.  He passed away in 2004.  However, had he still been living, he would have celebrated his 69th birthday today, and he would have celebrated the Panhandle's legacy as well.  Here's to you, Dad!

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