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             OHERN Institute  •  Bowling Green, Ohio 43402  •  A Research Division of All Aboard Ohio

Northwest Ohio Interurban Joint Powers Authority

CLICK HERE to view web presentation

CLICK HERE to download JPA proposal -- NW_Ohio_Interurban_JPA.pdf


The Ohio counties situated along the western end of Lake Erie have undergone rapid social, demographic and economic change in just the past decade.  As the local communities in these areas work to diversify their manufacturing and technological base, the need for enhancing the educational infrastructure and adding transportation options grows in importance.

Communities in Northwest Ohio have an opportunity to create a commuter rail transportation component as a key element of a 21st century multimodal transportation network.  This proposal for creation of a joint powers authority (JPA) - an entity permitted under the law, whereby two or more public authorities can operate collectively as a new, separate entity -  is the first step toward development of a commuter rail backbone that would link transit systems and educational institutions in Northwest Ohio.

This proposal directly responds to key transportation goals and priorities contained in the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Government’s most recent transportation planning document.  The proposed JPA Interurban network is in responds to the metropolitan transportation plan for affordable intercity passenger rail, establishment of transit connections between universities, an integration of the region’s transit systems using fuel efficient modes, like rail, and increasing regional transportation options for seniors, people with disabilities and other non-drivers.

When completed, the Northwest Ohio passenger rail service will effectively connect multiple local transit systems, commercial transportation services and other intercity public transportation, making it possible for more business, personal and educational trips to be made at less cost compared to current transportation choices in the region.

The Northwest Ohio Interurban would link nearly all transit services in Lucas, Wood and Hancock counties and directly serve most of the population centers in the region. The rail corridor is alongside or nearby all of the campuses of the region’s six colleges and universities, fashioning, in a sense, a single regional campus of 65,000 students with thousands of faculty producing new learning opportunities, increased resource sharing and furthering collaboration.

Funding for the Interurban network would come partly from the farebox but the majority of funds would come through an agreement and partnership with the region’s colleges and universities.

This funding strategy would have the colleges and universities join the JPA and help fashion a policy whereby students, faculty and staff would receive low pricing and unlimited travel within the network in exchange for each participating institution agreeing to a universal buy-in.

A total of two or three train sets would be required to run constantly in a fully built-out commuter rail network linking Sylvania in the north to Toledo, Bowling Green and Findlay in the south.  Trains would operate seven days a week from early in the morning to late at night, 365 days a year.

With the participation of the colleges and universities, it will be possible to create, operate and maintain a commuter rail service that connects all of the transit systems in the three county region of Northwest Ohio and accomplish it without the need for state, county or city tax subsidies.