From city-to-airport rail, to direct flights to Europe, here's what could be coming in Columbus' transit.
The mayor's Jobs, Expansion and Transportation (JET) Task Force is expected to recommend, among other things, that light rail be considered one part of making Port Columbus International Airport a regional transportation center. The thorniest problems are yet to come: namely, finding money for more studies and, eventually, construction of a Downtown-to-airport street-grade rail line. "More of these projects are strong public-private partnerships," says Steve Campbell, the city's director of regional growth initiatives. "The private sector understands that more of the population is interested in living in or near Downtown and less interested in needing a car to get around. We definitely think there's a trend toward more support."Direct Flights to Europe
We could be going to see the queen with one fewer layover as soon as 2016. That's if British Airlines-pitched last year by the Columbus Regional Airport Authority and planning organization Columbus 2020-decides a Columbus-to-London route is good business. In the meantime, the airport authority is actively pursuing more direct service to the West Coast-specifically San Francisco and Seattle-after nonstop flights to Los Angeles started in 2013.Regional Passenger Rail
Nine cities between Chicago and Columbus have signed a document expressing interest in establishing passenger rail service between the two cities, using existing freight lines. This year, a task force of the major players will be formed so the conversation can continue. The process would be slow, but "this could be a transformative link to Midwest business centers," says William Murdock, executive director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. An effort like this one, percolating from the ground up, Murdock says, is a best practice for these projects, which don't fare as well when government attempts to foist them on regions.