I remember, as a child, when an Interstate highway replaced the winding two-lane that snaked through the countryside from Kansas City to St. Louis. I-70 was safer and faster. It was certainly more efficient for getting goods to market and people to see this vast country of ours.
There was a downside, though. Millions of small towns were left off the Interstate Highway map and off ramps became generic McDonalds, Subways, and BP's. Every stop was a “Groundhog Day” of the same views and the same stores.
Its way past due to rectify the downside of the Interstate Highway System—its lost towns, its boring repetition—and develop a system that would stimulate jobs and increase civic pride, recreational opportunity, and good health.
Enter the Interstate Bikeway System...
Existing railtrails would be linked by utilizing unused railroad beds/bridges and covering them with the fine gravel that packs to a hard surface. The new railtrails would be planned to run through economically depressed towns. With a matching grant, each town would plan, build, and maintain their section of the trail with a theme reflecting the unique history and culture of the area. Spurs from the trail to the town's commercial offerings could bring visitors and allow easy access for citizens.
The result would be a “patchwork quilt” of unique opportunity for recreational exploration, stimulation of local economies, and exercise.
In Congressional District 2, linking the existing bike trails of Hamilton County with a bikeway system that winds through Clermont, Brown, Highland, Adams, Scioto, Pike, and Ross counties could create a recreation destination for RVers repositioning from the North to Florida in the Spring and Fall, summer visitors from other states, and year-round visitors from Cincinnati and Columbus.
The cost of the matching grants would be small compared to the benefits to the towns of the southern Ohio Appalachian region. Maximum taxpayer value!