That and it looks like Ohio may be looking to ante up to keep the combined airline from cutting flights up there. I really have a big Cleveburgh post building up inside of me.. two major airports two hours from each other; just can't be good if governments start throwing in fiscal incentives that will only work against each other in the end.
This passage has everything to do with my first paragraph. What, exactly, do you want high-speed rail to do? In Europe, true HSR helps to connect major cities. I don't think that makes much sense at all in the United States. Hunter's invocation of the national scale doesn't speak to the economic geography of Cleveburgh. But Chris Briem's post does.
To bring another voice into the discussion, please recall Aaron Renn's "Mega-Skepticism":
Geographic proximity alone can offer some benefits. Philadelphia is certainly benefitting from proximity to New York as NYC prices turn it into the sixth borough. Pittsburgh can’t tap into that. But I view this as less of a mega-region, than just the colossus that is New York City expanding its sphere of influence as it becomes an ever more important world city. There is a similar effect going on with Chicago and Milwaukee, but is that replicable elsewhere?
Even with high-speed rail, Pittsburgh isn't going to benefit from New York City like Philadelphia does. Maybe Pittsburgh-to-DC makes sense. Cleveland-to-Chicago? No.
Cleveburgh is not a megaregion. From the perspective of Youngstown, the TechBelt is a singular talent pool and job market. Put a software firm in the Mahoning Valley and you can tap workers in both Cleveland and Pittsburgh. In this regard, better rail in the corridor makes sense. It would functionally expand the density dividend.
Connecting the region's three biggest airports would build the necessary infrastructure to breathe life into the TechBelt. Right now, it's a zero sum game. Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Akron/Canton are all competing for the same shrinking market share. More efficient rail service would make one trans-Atlantic flight economically viable. Instead, Cleveland and Pittsburgh each subsidizes its own flight. Civic pride results in a tragedy of the commons.
The next generation of rail could catalyze more urban economic spillovers. This approach makes the most sense in the Rust Belt given how so many cities (large and small) are packed so closely together yet remain worlds apart. The parochial silos are too small. Megaregions are too big. Urban pairs are just right. Welcome to the Cookie Table Express.