The proposed Amtrak stop in Oxford continues to gain momentum as city and Miami University leaders intend to pursue a federal grant to fund the operation.
City Manager Douglas Elliott told city council this month that he met with university, Butler County Regional Transit Authority and Talawanda Schools officials to discuss applying for a TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. TIGER stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation website, TIGER provide “a unique opportunity for the DOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve critical national objectives.”
The one Ohio project funded by a TIGER grant last year was the East 105th/East 93rd Transportation Corridor program in the Cleveland area for $400,000. Indianapolis received a $2 million Tiger grant for Indianapolis Red Line Planning Studies, a rapid transit bus system.
Amtrak’s Cardinal Line runs from Chicago to New York City, with stops in Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., among others. The line runs through Oxford three times a week, but the train does not stop there.
The city had requested a feasibility study from Amtrak previously, but the study was declined, Elliott said. However, that was around the time the recession hit, and ridership has improved since, he said.
“We think the time is good for us to request once again to request they consider a feasibility study for a stop here in Oxford. We’ll be submitting a letter to Amtrak regarding that,” he said.
Elliott also noted that a new round of TIGER funding is slated for early spring. Miami University continues to lend its support to the effort as well.
“As a university that attracts students from Ohio as well as throughout the U.S. and around the world, we support an initiative that would provide expanded travel options for Miami students. Miami has a strong presence in the Midwest — the 10 top non-Ohio high schools with the largest number of applicants for fall 2014 were from the Chicagoland area — so having this option available for prospective and current students would be a helpful asset to the University,” said Susan Schaurer, interim director of admission and enrollment communication.
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