Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pulling back the curtain on the Streetcar

Is the Cincinnati Streetcar in its dying throes? 

We think it may be, or the City is deciding to proceed with the project knowing that full funding funding is not possible.

Let COAST put a few pieces of the puzzle together for you:
  1. First, we know that there is a $50 million gap between the projected costs for the Streetcar and the identified funding.
  2. Second, we know that even Streetcar supporters say the 4-mile loop from the riverfront to Findlay Market is a poor use of taxpayer dollars, constantly holding out the vain hope that additional funding will be identified to take the line up the Vine Street hill to Corryville and beyond.
  3. Third, we know the project is stalled and significantly behind schedule on critical milestones.  More on this to come later.
  4. Fourth, thanks to Congressman Chabot, the pipe dream of further Federal funding for the Streetcar is now completely off the table.
  5. Fifth, major funding issues remain unresolved, including (a) the FAA's refusal to allow Blue Ash Airport proceeds to be spent on the project, (b) the likelihood that COASTers will be able to block PUCO approval of a City-only rate increase for the Streetcar, and (c) the continuing impasse with the Hamilton County Commission over moving MSD lines.
Knowing all of this, either this Mayor, this Manager and this Council are even crazier than we think (this is entirely possible) or they are really in the early stages of deciding to kill off the project in the most politically safe manner possible.

When they do kill it, they will have some 'splaining to do about the $25 million + they have pissed down a rathole on this rail dream of Mayor Mallory and a few dozen trollyites who can't seem to let it go.  We hope you are proud of yourselves.

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