Monday, July 13, 2009

The Cleveburgh Express

All aboard the Tech Belt Train! Economic development of the Cleveland-Youngstown-Pittsburgh corridor (a.k.a. Cleveburgh) continues to gather momentum. The latest proposed project could help spur regional innovation:

One of those proposed corridors is the Cleveland-to-Pittsburgh connection, with stops in Warren and Youngstown.

It's being championed by Ohio leaders as well as local representatives in Washington, D.C., who say it will help develop northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania into a technology stronghold and be a boon for economic development.

U.S. Reps. Timothy J. Ryan, D-Niles, and Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, in western Pennsylvania, have been working to get the link noticed by those developing the plan.

"They really see a vision for how Pittsburgh and Cleveland and points in between can come together and forge partnerships to enhance economic development," said Tess Mullen, spokeswoman for Altmire. "The two have talked a lot of the idea of a technology belt, a region for innovation. Creating that rail corridor is part of that region."

Watch Ryan and Altimire pitch the Tech Belt to the City Club of Cleveland. I'd like to know how the idea is playing there. Greater Youngstown is the driving force behind this initiative, though part of Altmire's district includes Pittsburgh. But I don't see much news about the Tech Belt at either end of Cleveburgh. Given the expanded geography of the Greater Pittsburgh regional initiative, the extent of collaboration may end up between Pittsburgh and Youngstown on the strength of the Steel Valley interstate identity.

You in, Cleveland?


  1. I'm really starting to like this "Metroplex" identity that you're fleshing out between Pittsburgh-Youngstown-Akron-Cleveland. It's got a reasonable similarity to the orignial Metroplex of Dallas-Ft. Worth, and if we can focus on a corridor rather than a sprawl blob, there's a lot of potential for smart growth.

    I've never been further west than Pittsburgh on the Capitol Limited. What's the stop in Alliance like? Is it close to Youngstwn at all? Is the population going to be upset if they stop service there in favor of Youngstown?

  2. I think the residents of Alliance OH, wouldn't miss the train too much. The Alliance stop is a bus shelter next to the tracks, and while I can't speak for regular patronage of that stop, the night I rode it, I think the train stopped for approx. 5 seconds, literally.

    It's also not close enough to practically integrate with a Pittsburgh-Youngstown-Cleveland routing.

    I do like the Pittsburgh-Cleveland idea alot better than a link over the mountains to the east. Hopefully it can get a little more support behind it than the "Keystone Corridor" extension to Pittsburgh seems to be getting.

  3. I don't know anything about passenger rail service in Ohio and PA. But I do like the idea of a tech corridor. Wisconsin and Illinois are mulling over a similar project. Obviously, there needs to be the right kind of infrastructure to help promote the connectivity. That's why I prefer to link up the major airports instead of the city centers.

    Think about Youngstown's job market. It functionally spans from Cleveland to Pittsburgh. Most people when they leave Youngstown end up in another part of Cleveburgh. From an expatriate's perspective, it's already one region and a Youngstown location would give a boomerang migrant access to substantially more job opportunities. Or, you could sell a Youngstown job and a Pittsburgh/Cleveland city residence.

    If Youngstown can fully leverage that proximity advantage, then I think we see a Mahoning Valley renaissance riding the coattails of Pittsburgh's resurgance.

  4. Since working with ORDC, Yo, and Pitt & Cle in getting the service between the cities, I believe it would be a significant boost for this area to have rail service running through our city. Ohio is the missing link to connect the nation in an E-W corridor. Unfortunately, OH is concentrating on connecting its 3 C's instead of connecting the rest of the country...if we could get Columbus to give up its aspirations of connecting Cleveland to Cincinnati, and instead see the value of connecting Chicago to D.C., with the Ohio connection running from Toledo-Cleveland-Yo-Pitt then we might be on to something worthwhile. Even if we can't get PA to re-invest in the rail line through the state (Pit to Harrisburg)the connection on our end will be there, and OH will not be the one holding up the line. Plus we will have good service betw Cle-Pit. A great value to our region.