COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) --Mayors from Columbus and eight other cities signed an agreement Wednesday afternoon supporting a passenger rail project between Chicago and Columbus.

The 300-mile-long passenger rail corridor would operate up to 12 trains daily, each direction, along the route. Express services would link downtown Chicago to Columbus in less than four hours.

The agreement calls for cooperation among all parties--including freight rail operations and owners of rights-of-way along the corridor--on the $1 billion project known as the Northern Indiana/Ohio High Speed Rail Initiative.

Specifically, it calls for all parties involved to work together to secure funding for a required environmental impact statement on the project.

It's estimated the project would create 26,000 jobs over 30 years, pay for itself after a couple of years, and potentially become a big moneymaker.

A study projected that just over two million riders would use the rail line in 2020, with that number growing to more than three million in 2040.