Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, former Lorain County Commissioner Betty Blair and other elected officials explained how Congressman Dennis Kucinich worked to kill a commuter rail project in Lorain.
"Dennis Kucinich was working behind the scenes to dismantle this project," said
"Had he stepped forward, this project could have been much further along than it is
Congresswoman Kaptur opened her remarks by saying "Today we are standing
a train station that would have linked Lorain with Cleveland, created
jobs, increased tourism and boosted the economy of the area. We should be
standing at a fully operational train station. But Congressman Kucinich
said "No'. It was his opposition that turned federal investment money
away and derailed this job-creating project."
In 2001, The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) released
a study which showed the Cleveland to Lorain line to be the most feasible
of all the rail projects under consideration.
Former Commissioner Blair said "Marcy has been working on this project
even before it was in her district. She understands the importance of
Blair detailed her involvement in the project that would have linked Lorain,
Cleveland and western suburbs in Cuyahoga County.
"In 2006 the Lorain Port Authority hosted a fundraiser to support this
project. Marcy Kaptur was there -- even though it was not in her
district," Blair said.
The former Commissioner cited a meeting with the Chief Operations Officer
of Kalahari Resort, which then had a projected workforce of over 1,300
people. "He needs workers and these workers need transportation," she said.
Blair continued, "Being a congressman, to, me, is about taking care of
pertinent business. When NOACA crafted a win-win agreement for various
parties to sign, I was asked to visit Congressman Kucinich's office. Of
course, he was not there. Nor did he ever sign this agreement."
Blair concluded her remarks by stating, "We need Congresswoman Kaptur ."
The Congresswoman called the commuter rail project "a missed opportunity"
that would have helped residents, businesses and tourists alike." She
noted that with " gasoline prices edging closer to four dollars a gallon,
and some projecting a rise to over five, transportation alternatives
should be a priority, especially for this area.
Congresswoman Kaptur also cited an Urban Land Institute study which
reported that the Greater Cleveland Area has the fifth highest
transportation costs in the nation.
The Congresswoman talked about her successes in returning federal tax
dollars to her district.
Kaptur stated, "Through my position on the House Appropriations Committee,
I was able to secure funding for the largest transportation project in
Ohio history, the I-280 Veterans Glass City Skyway Bridge."
The Congresswoman continued, "If I am re-elected, I will return to
Washington and fight to return our tax dollars to northern Ohio. I will
fight for the types of infrastructure projects that create jobs and open
up new opportunities for manufacturing, commerce, and tourism."
Kaptur concluded by saying, "Standing here in Lorain, contemplating what
could have been here, I think the contrast between my opponent and I
couldn't be more clear."
Also in attendance were Richard Novak, Executive Director of the Lorain
County Port Authority, Lorain City Councilman Eddie Edwards Kathryn
Karpus, President of the Lorain County Joint Vocational School; and Sharon
Pearson of the Oberlin Project.