Sunday, February 1, 2009
Cincinnati Requests $12.6 Million of Federal Stimulus Package For Trolley
Boondoggle railroaded on voters
Ignoring the WeDemandAVote.Com coalition’s petition drive to force a public vote on Council plan for a $400 million trolley system serving only three neighborhoods, Mayor Mark Mallory in January asked its Congressional delegation to support inclusion in the federal stimulus bill of $12.6 million for the nascent trolley plan. A copy of the City’s request is here.
The request is part of an overall request by the City of nearly $333 million in Stimulus funds. Read the entire request here. COAST supposes we should be happy there is no request for funds for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in there.
Cincinnati City Council first approved the trolley plan in April of last year. The Council resolution called for raising $32 million of the costs for the plan from private sources and charged the City Manager with doing the private fundraising. The April resolution called for the City Manager to report to Council quarterly on his fundraising results. To date, the City Manager has never issued such a report and no private funds have been donated.
The City did, however, extract $3 million from Duke Energy as part of a complex kick-back deal in which the City consented to a higher rate increase than Duke requested, and sold them 20,000 city-owned streetlights for $200 a piece. Cincinnati previously maintained the lights themselves to save money under a recommendation by the Smale Commission. The city sellout abandons that strategy to raise some quick cash.
The WeDemandAVote.Com coalition, which has placed three issues on the ballot in the past two years, has committed in 2009 to placing an issue on the ballot preventing the expenditure of major funds by the City for passenger rail transportation without first receiving the approval of voters. Call Mark Miller at 513-617-2263 for your copy of the petition and instruction sheet, or e-mail Treasurer@GoCOAST.Org.