November &
December 2013

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Passenger Rail Forum

Passenger rail and its impact on economic development was the theme at the 2013 Passenger Rail Forum held October 7 at the Toledo Club. The forum is an annual event presented by the Northwest Ohio Passenger Rail Association (NOPRA) and TMACOG’s Public Transit & Passenger Rail committee. About 80 people attended the luncheon and presentation.

Keynote speaker John Robert Smith is a passionate advocate of passenger rail and speaks widely on the topic. He is the co-chair of Transportation for America. Read more about his advocacy work here. He described how his experience as mayor of Meridian, Mississippi showed him how renovating a rail depot could stimulate larger development in the entire community. He noted that selling his community on a new multimodal station wasn’t easy, but after it was completed even the staunchest opponents became supporters.

Participating in the program as panelists were William Thomas, CEO, Downtown Toledo Development Corporation; Jerry Wicks, PhD, Director, Ohio Higher Education Rail Network (OHERN); and Paul Toth, President & CEO, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. The facilitator was Tina Skeldon Wozniak, Lucas County Commissioner, who noted that passenger rail development can be one part of creating a sustainable community.

John Robert Smith addresses the Passenger Rail Forum.

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