OXFORD, Ohio — A $16.9 million transit project featuring many partners and considered transformational for the region is set to break ground later this month.
The Butler County Regional Transit Authority, Miami University and the city of Oxford have worked for years on a multimodal station at Chestnut Fields at 97 W. Chestnut St. in Oxford.
“This is a true multimodal project for the city of Oxford that will include bus and rail and car and bikes, and so it’s really all connected,” said Oxford Assistant City Manager Jessica Greene.
Known as the Chestnut Street Multimodal Station, it will serve as a hub for passenger connections to Butler County RTA services and regional buses and is scheduled to be operational by late 2025. Features of this project include state-of-the-art passenger waiting areas, public restrooms, bike storage, real-time transit information, passenger kiosks with customer service, and intermodal transfer bays.
“This is a project more than 10 years in the making, so seeing everyone’s hard work come to fruition is tremendously exciting,” said Matthew Dutkevicz, executive director of Butler County RTA. “The transit hub will fulfill transit needs throughout Butler County and positively affect countless lives, day in and day out. We’re deeply proud of the development and can’t wait for the beautiful space to take shape and transform the community we proudly serve.”
Dutkevicz said this is the “first monumental expansion in transportation services” to serve this area in nearly a generation. It will take about 18 months to complete and once finished, will also include wash bays for commercial vehicles, charging stations for electric cars, ample covered parking, bike racks, and rentals, and a meeting room.
The transportation center has received $1.5 million in funding from Miami University and $2.4 million from Butler County RTA. The university has also made an in-kind donation of the land as a 40-year lease. Additionally, Butler County RTA and Miami University have partnered to raise more than $5 million to secure the project.
Randi Malcolm Thomas, vice president for Aspire at Miami University, said the new development will help the region, not just Oxford.
“This will allow individuals from Butler and Hamilton counties to access employment, entertainment and education opportunities at the Oxford, Ohio campus, the regional campuses in Middletown, Hamilton, and the Voice of America Learning Center in West Chester,” he said.
This transit hub will also serve as a platform for Amtrak’s Cardinal line, which while not yet officially a go, is very much anticipated, said Greene.
“We haven’t signed the dotted line, yet, but we have a strong draft, Amtrak has given us input on the platform design, so we’re working closely together,” she said.
As the county RTA is leading the bus terminal part of the multimodal station, which includes having a waiting room for the Amtrak platform. The waiting area will be enclosed and climate-controlled. The Amtrack platform project, which is led by the city of Oxford,received just more than $2 million from the Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments and is expected to be completed in 2026.
The Amtrak portion of the project has been sought by Oxford and Miami University for morethan a decade. Not only will it have a countywide impact, but being a stop on the train company’s Cardinal line would bring people to and from major cities in the East and Midwest. The Cardinal line runs from Chicago to New York, with stops in Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Washington, D.C.
Phase 5 of the Oxford Area Trails multimodal path will connect to the bus terminal. This $5 million project will provide people with a path for bikes, scooters, and walkers and runners.
Though the economic impact of this project hasn’t been fleshed out, Greene said she’s “excited about the potential,” and though she wouldn’t speculate on a number she does have “high hopes” for that potential financial windfall.
How this could impact Hamilton is uncertain, but Hamilton City Council member Michael Ryan, the city’s representative concerning the Amtrak expansion project, only sees positives with this project for Butler County’s capital city.
“This is only going to help Hamilton’s efforts in getting Amtrak expanded to the city. With them already operating on a corridor that’s being ID’d, it only moves the needle closer to the city to get a stop in town. It is a big deal, and it would be good for the city.”
The Federal Railroad Administration identified four routes in Ohio as priorities for an Amtrak expansion, and among them are the 3C+D (Cincinnati-Dayton-Columbus-Cleveland) and Cardinal routes. Hamilton stops will be included in feasibility studies of possible stops along the routes.
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