Wilkowski: Toledo should get in on high-speed rail

TOLEDO (WTOL) - Democratic mayoral candidate Keith Wilkowski says Toledo should be a key hub in the high speed passenger rail system.

He wants the Toledo City Planning Commission to develop a district around the Toledo train station in south Toledo to prepare for high-speed passenger train service.

Right now, the high speed rail plan for Ohio does not include Toledo.

A press release from the Wilkowski campaign office:

"Toledo is ideally positioned to benefit from new federal investment in passenger rail service," asserts Wilkowski.  "As Mayor, I'll make high speed rail a part of our economic development strategy and work to put new jobs on the fast track."

Wilkowski will announce his intention to forge a "Midwest Mayors' Compact "on high speed rail with Cleveland, Columbus, Chicago, South Bend, Detroit and Ann Arbor. Midwest Governors recently entered into a similar Compact to advance high speed rail in the region.

Wilkowski will also call upon the Toledo City Plan Commission to establish a Transit Oriented Development District around the Toledo train station in downtown Toledo in anticipation of, and as a catalyst to, the development of high speed passenger train service with Toledo as a key Midwest Hub.

Wilkowski's proposal comes at a time when momentum is building for high-speed passenger train development. The federal government has appropriated $8 billion in stimulus funds to be allocated to federally-designated high speed rail corridors such as the Chicago-Toledo-Cleveland corridor.

In addition to being well positioned on the east-west axis, Toledo could be a north-south corridor between Columbus and Detroit.  The Ohio Rail Development Commission's "Ohio Hub Plan" envisions a Columbus-Detroit connection.