Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Obituary: James Seney, 71, Ohio rail advocate

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James Seney, an Ohio political figure well-known for his passenger rail advocacy in the Buckeye State Ontario, according to his daughter Allison.

Seney had served as mayor of Sylvania, Ohio, from 1977 to 1995, and was currently serving as vice chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party.He also was former executive director of the Ohio Rail Development Commission from 2000-2006 under then-Gov. Bob Taft, and worked for former All Aboard Ohio board member Barry Fromm at Value Recovery Group Inc. from 2007 through 2010. 

"Jim Seney was a pragmatic visionary," said All Aboard Ohio Chairman Ron Sheck of Toledo. "It was his leadership that brought us the Ohio Hub System plan and the bipartisan support for it. He understood the political and economic benefits of jointly developing rail infrastructure for freight and passengers. And he knew that it needed to be regional and evolutionary, growing from a single 79-mph route linking Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati to a network of progressively higher-speed routes connecting Ohio to its neighboring states and Canada." 

Seney's ability to garner bipartisan support was evidenced by the Ohio Senate's 33-0 vote in 2006 for Senate Concurrent Resolution #30 that endorsed seeking federal funds for developing the Ohio Hub System.

Said All Aboard Ohio Executive Director Ken Prendergast, "He was able to unify Democrats and Republicans around something that both parties could agree on— the need for more and better jobs."

Seney is survived by his wife, five children, and five grandchildren.