Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Stop streetcar tax hikes

Ohio's Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) recommended [lines 10 & 39] that $51.8 million of your tax dollars be given to the Cincinnati Streetcar.

The state has an $8 BILLION deficit. To fill this shortfall, drastic cuts to schools, universities, Medicaid and public safety are expected. Local levies will then seek increases to makeup for state reductions. In other words, your taxes are likely going up to pay for a streetcar that nobody needs and few people want.

Public comments on TRAC's recommendation are being accepted until February 11th. If comments prove Ohioans don't want the streetcar, these bad outcomes can be avoided.
  1. CLICK HERE to send your comments to TRAC. A new message will open in your email program. If asked, allow it permission.
  2. Fill in your name and mailing address at the bottom of the message.
  3. Edit the body of the message to tell them what's most important to you.
Feel free to use the following facts as background:
  • The Cincinnati Streetcar project will run only 3 miles (6-mile loop) (from National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to top of Vine Street Hill, Corryville);
  • It has an initial projected cost of $128 million for construction only. The City already has identified cost overruns of $15 million for Duke Energy to move utility lines, bringing total projected costs to $143 million. More cost overruns are sure to follow. All cost overruns must come from the City's budget.
  • The City has absolutely no plan, no idea how it will fund the operations of the streetcar, which former SORTA Board Member Stephan Louis estimates to be $10-$12 million per year.
  • The City has no room in its operating budget for this additional cost, having papered over a $52 million deficit this year and facing police and fire layoffs by as early as this summer.
  • 12 community organizations and numerous elected officials have united against this project the Cincinnati Tea Party, COAST, the Cincinnati Chapter of the NAACP, The Baptist Ministers Conference of Cincinnati Vicinity, the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, the Hamilton County Green Party, Westwood Concern, the FOP, the Firefighters union and the CODE Labor Union.
You may also send comments by regular mail to:
Ohio Department of Transportation
attn: Ed Kagel TRAC Coordinator
1980 W. Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43223

22 comments:

  1. Wow what a desperate stretch. What a joke.

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  2. No Anon -
    Deperate will be the pro-trolley urban snobs after Governor Kasich pulls the plug on their yuppy OTR Choo choo

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  3. I'm desperate to have a streetcar that poor people and minorities won't be able to ride. We white YPers deserve something for ourselves.

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  4. hahah wow, it never fails. When COASTers run out of arguments against the streetcar, they complain and whine and make up lies about how the poor and minorities won't be able to ride it. How is that so? It's not. It's a pathetic tactic that didn't work during Issue 9.

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  5. I support the streetcar. I'm what Chris Bortz calls a "choice rider". That means every so often I'll leave my gas-guzzling SUV in the garage and take the streetcar on a magic ride, though only if its uppity enough. It's definitely worth $143 million for that.

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  6. COAST has always and will always advocate diverting federal money away from Cincinnati to other cities. COAST has always and will always fight for Cincinnatians to pay for other cities to beat us.

    Cincinnati tax payers have, since the 1960's, paid for new transit systems to be built in Atlanta, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, Miami, San Diego, Sacramento, Charlotte, and Norfolk, VA. They have paid for capital improvements to older systems in New York City, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco.

    WE HAVE PAID IN FOR DECADES BUT RECEIVED NOTHING IN RETURN. COAST WANTS TO CONTINUE THAT TREND.

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  7. $1.5 Trillion DeficitFebruary 3, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    I think if COAST had its way they'd shut down all these programs that spend federal tax dollars on local projects. We can't afford them and never could.

    These "winner" cities that Jake talks about aren't quite the winners themselves. Many of them now have to operate systems that they can't afford now either. Ohio doesn't need a 3-C snail rail and Cincinnati doesn't need a $143 million choo-choo train that neither can afford

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  8. From Coast:
    The Cincinnati Streetcar project will run only 3 miles (6-mile loop) (from National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to top of Vine Street Hill, Corryville);

    From Cincinnatistreetcar:
    The first phase of the Cincinnati Streetcar will cover a 4.9-mile route connecting Downtown, Over-the-Rhine and Clifton.

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  9. >Many of them now have to operate systems that they can't afford now either.

    In city after city, the primary strain on budgets are police, fire, and employee pension programs. COAST endorses union thuggery because it creates a crisis. And COAST never lets a crisis go to waste, or misses an opportunity to invent and then exploit an invented problem problem.

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  10. Wow, COAST is the most anti-Cincinnati group I have ever heard of. Citizens opposed to additional spending and taxes is trying to put an irrelevant issue on the ballot that WILL COST TAX PAYERS $400,000!!!!! Some of the most hypocritical bull-shit I have ever heard. Those in support of the streetcar have shown time and time again, existing proof of the validity of such a project. COAST has shown nothing even close to one fact that supports their view. COAST doesn't care about Cincinnati, just themselves.

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  11. Give it up people. Spending $400,000 on an election to save $143 million of waste is a great investment. We wouldn't even have to spend that if the city's leaders would focus on Cincinnati's real problems and stop this choo-choo nonsense.

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  12. Anton says

    Coast needs a couple of property owners along the streetcar route to go to court to enjoin the basement inspection being conducted under . . . . exactly what authority again?

    Don't tell Fay I said so.

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  13. "Coast needs a couple of property owners along the streetcar route to go to court to enjoin the basement inspection being conducted under . . . . exactly what authority again?"

    You mean the basement inspection that they REQUESTED permission from property owners before going through with the inspection. Try reading the newspaper.

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  14. To COAST rep -
    I found your organization named in an article on Cleveland.com regarding the possibly unlawful use of traffic cameras in Cleveland. I am trying to gather information on any recourse I may have after receiving a ticket from a camera with NO signage displayed anywhere (notifying drivers of the use of the camera). Can you provide me contact info for someone who I could speak to concerning this issue? I will check back for any reply.

    Many thanks!
    KV

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  15. KV,

    Please contact COAST General Counsel Chris Finney privately at CFinney@FSSP-Law.Com; include a phone number and best time/day for a return call. He will contact you to discuss your options. Thanks.

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  16. how can you guys live in cincinnati and hate it so much? don't you need jobs or this city to thrive?

    unbelievable. if you hate it here, get OUT

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  17. I agree. If you don't support spending $143 million on a streetcar, then you hate the city.

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  18. "how can you guys live in cincinnati and hate it so much? don't you need jobs or this city to thrive?"

    Only one of their leaders lives within the city. The other guy is from Anderson Township. He benefits by having Cincinnati go to shit.

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  19. COAST members, as well as its Board, are a mix between the city of Cincinnati, suburban communities in Hamilton County, and our surrounding counties.

    We have never claimed to be a Cincinnati-only organization. However, we have many Board members and general members who do live in the city. They deserve the support of COAST just as much as our suburban members.

    If outside interference is this much of a concern for the city-dwelling streetcar supporters, then the city needs to reject all outside money for this project. The city lobbied for and won $25 million from the federal government. They are currently seeking another $50 million from the state of Ohio. These expenditures make the streetcar everyone's issue. If you feel otherwise, then fund the streetcar with Cincinnati money only.

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  20. Don't forget to report in your letters that Stephan Louis has already been found, by the Ohio Elections Commission, to have publicized false statements in the prior transit campaign MetroMoves 2002. His shell organization was penalized for this action following the election. However, the Republican county commission rewarded this behavior the way Republicans always reward their waterboys -- by nominating him to the SORTA board seat mentioned above. He continues to this day to make false statements while COAST continues to work to help elect public officials to power who deceive voters. They helped with the Bengal Stadium boondoggle, with Stephan Louis and the republican party then, and they continue to this day with their promotion of Chris "idea vacuum" Monzel.

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  21. The streetcar proposal is another in a long line of stupid proposals, which have reduced City Hall to a standing joke among all demographics in Southwestern Ohio. As with the idiotic fountain relocation a few years back, it epitomizes the need of intellectual lightweights to appear to be "doing something"--a fit subject for a modern Dean Swift to immortalize, but an ongoing shame to those of us native to Cincinnati.

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  22. Flax, you have got to be one of the stupidest people in this city. It's old suburban morons like you that are attempting to hold this city back. Like the moron Chris Smitherman, you STILL keep whining and complaining about the Fountain Square relocation. Meanwhile, Fountain Square has been a huge economic boom for the city. Thousands of people down there in the summer and spring for weekly events that draw thousands downtown.

    Yeah, that was a bad idea. People should just stay home.

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We follow the "living room" rule. Exhibit the same courtesy you would show guests in your home.