COLUMBUS — March 29, 20200 – As the last two years have borne out, the only constant is change. One of the biggest industries to change during that time is freight, along with its role in the state’s, nation’s and global economies. While millions stayed at home to curb the spread of the COVID 19 pandemic, shopping patterns changed at warp speed from bricks and mortar to online ordering with home delivery.
The State of Ohio is in the center of freight’s changing role. The state’s freight network includes 1,330 miles of interstate, 5,000-plus miles of active freight rail lines, 736 maritime system miles, eight airports with regular cargo service and more than 110,000 miles of pipeline. This network moved over 1 billion tons of goods worth over $1.2 trillion in 2018.
In response to these changes and as part of a federally-mandated process, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has spent the last two years updating its state freight plan called Transport Ohio. The updated plan looks at the state of the freight industry in Ohio today and for the next five years.
“Freight plays a vital role in Ohio’s economy, contributing to nearly 40% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks, PhD. “While our freight system has served the state well, it must continue to adapt to evolving demands and pressures, structural trends, unmet needs and emerging opportunities. The system also must accommodate and prepare for continued growth with more capacity in the right places.”
The plan analyzes the needs of the state’s roadway, rail, air cargo, maritime and pipeline networks. It includes freight system strategies focusing on coordination, partnerships, innovation and technology for ODOT to implement over the next five years and recommends freight system investments to maintain Ohio’s leadership position in moving freight on land, air and water.
ODOT is now seeking the public’s review and comments on the draft plan. The public comment period is open until Sunday, April 10. The draft can be downloaded at the Transport Ohio website. Once reviewed, feedback can be shared by taking a brief survey at PublicInput.com/TransportOhio.
To request printed copies of the plan and/or the survey, or for specialized communication needs such as translation services, please email email@example.com or call (614) 752-5711 and provide your name, phone number and mailing address. Comments also can be mailed to:
ODOT MS 3280
1980 W. Broad St.
Columbus, OH 43223