Streetcar booster and hipster leader
Ryan Messer has no funding plan
for $3.8 Million Streetcar operating deficit
The bill eventually comes due, doesn't it? Well that day is about 16 months away, maybe sooner.
And it's pretty funny watching the folks who committed us to the costs of the Cincinnati Streetcar, worming and squirming as decision day approaches on the funding issue. Yes, petulant children, you have to pay for that pony, feed him hay every day and then shovel out the stall.
Sure, we all knew the day would eventually come when Kevin Flynn, P.G. Sittenfeld, and David Mann would have to decide how they would pay the operating costs of the Cincinnati Streetcar. For, even by their own estimates the Streetcar will run a $3.8 million deficit each year, year after year. COAST has reported and knows the actual operating deficit will be more like $6-8 million per annum. But time will tell on that number as well, just...mark our words.
Now that these three council members -- contrary to their words on the campaign trail less than 60 days before their fateful votes -- voted to fund the monstrosity, they "own it" and get to figure out how to pay for it.
It seems that each week that goes by another idea is floated and then batted down about funding the streetcar operations. This past week, they did not like the idea of a parking fee on Over-the-Rhine residents to fund their expensive toy train. In September, the promised special improvement district on downtown and OTR was similarly dispatched.
Let's take a trip down memory lane of how the hipsters promised that the operating expenses of the Streetcar would be paid (much of this is explored in this Enquirer article):
- The Hale Foundation and other corporate titans promised it would be funded privately. Indeed, Kevin Flynn went on radio after the vote and said he personally would find the private funding (just like O.J. Simpson promised to find the "real killers" of his former wife).
- The hipster crew promised a "Special Improvement District" across downtown and Over-the-Rhine to fund the deficit.
- SORTA's Board passed a bizarre and inexcusable resolution promising that that insolvent agency would "assume responsibility for streetcar operating costs," even though they had utterly no idea where that money was to come from. They certainly don't have it.
- Kevin Flynn posited that the signers of the petition to save the Streetcar each donate $100. (That's a gut-buster, for sure!)
- SORTA will soon be selling commemorative gift cards for Streetcar rides to fund the deficit (you can't make this stuff up!).
- The City applied for a Federal grant for operating expenses -- and was shot down.
So, how do hipster-in-chief Ryan Messer and his green balloon brigade intend to pay for the Streetcar? The short answer is they have no plan, just like they have no plan to pay either the capital or operating costs to extend the line up Vine Street hill to University Heights. They never had a plan. Indeed, they never had a plan to come up with a plan.
So, know that while Ryan Messer and the hipsters had their day when Council decided to fund the Streetcar, we have enjoyed every day since watching the chickens come home to roost. And they will roost every single day for more than 20 years.
This is a funny show to watch.