Gov. Ted Strickland and governors of other Midwestern states signed a memorandum of understanding Monday to coordinate regional efforts to secure federal funding for development of the Chicago Hub High-Speed Rail Corridor, including Ohio's 3C Passenger Rail Plan.

Gov. Ted Strickland and governors of other Midwestern states signed a memorandum of understanding Monday to coordinate regional efforts to secure federal funding for development of the Chicago Hub High-Speed Rail Corridor, including Ohio's 3C Passenger Rail Plan.

"The agreement signed today demonstrates the importance of Ohio and the 3C corridor to the Chicago hub," Strickland said. "It also commits the Midwest to work together to bring high-speed rail to our region."

The memorandum of understanding was signed by Strickland, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

"A modern transportation system that includes passenger rail service enhances the quality of life for those in its proximity, revitalizes our cities and boosts the economic development and growth potential of a region," Strickland said. "I thank President Obama and Congress for their visionary leadership and commitment to expanding passenger rail service in the United States."

Ohio's 3C corridor would connect Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati as part of the Chicago Hub Network, which connects Toledo, Louisville, Indianapolis and Chicago to the western U.S.

"Ohio's central location makes our state the connection between the Chicago hub to the west and the Northeast corridor to the east," Strickland said. "I look forward to collaborating with my fellow governors and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to make the Midwest a regional leader in high-speed rail and move our state into the future."

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has made $8-billion in funds available for passenger rail service. The memorandum of understanding establishes a Midwest Rail Steering Committee to coordinate the region's efforts to secure resources.

Restoring passenger rail service at conventional speed is Ohio's first step toward implementing a high-speed rail network connecting Ohio to the Midwest and the rest of the country.

With ARRA funding, Ohio would have initial conventional-speed service running by 2011. Ohio is seeking at least $250-million and up to $400-million in ARRA resources for the 3C Quick Start Passenger Rail Plan.