Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mallory: 'Yes" Vote Would Kill Streetcar

We have suffered through a subway boondoggle, a union terminal boondoggle, a riverfront transit center boondoggle, and now a streetcar boondoggle. City leaders, past and present, for nearly a century now, have eagerly embraced the latest passenger rail transportation fads. They invariably blow it, sticking the city with a useless white elephant, and decades of debt.

Taxpayers are fed up, and are no longer willing to stand idly by, watching city leaders flush their hard-earned dollars down the latest rathole. Citizens are desperately seeking a way to veto this ridiculous trolley plan. COAST and its partners have delivered a charter amendment which will do just that. Mayor Mallory says so.

Kill the streetcar!
Vote 'Yes' on the passenger rail transportation charter amendment.


  1. Our subway tunnel and transit center will only be "boondoggles" if we block the city from using them for transportation. Right now they have the potential to be incorporated into various projects that would give city residents improved transportation options. The amendment would block us from doing that.

    What is going to get us out of our city's "decades of debt"? What about something that keeps residents within the city and encourages new development here, rather than along the I-75 corridor in Butler & Warren counties?

  2. I am happy that "coast" (who are you, again?) has finally admitted that this isn't about demanding a vote at all, it is about killing all forms of rail transportation in Cincinnati.

    The people of Cincinnati will recognize that such a charter amendment is exactly what it's opponents say it is - anti-progress, anti-economic development, anti-City.

    And, "coast", you are lying about the City of Cincinnati wasting money on rail transit for over a century. The streetcar system moved working people between their jobs and homes, and their homes and markets and beerhalls, for over 50 years. If anything, the Cincinnati has a wonderful history of rail transit. It was dismantling that system that was the problem.

  3. This amendment alone wouldn't kill the streetcar. It only means the public would have to approve it first.

    And since the streetcar proponents are sure that most people support their plan, what would they have to be afraid of? The city could put the streetcar question to the people on the November ballot and find out.

  4. "And since the streetcar proponents are sure that most people support their plan, what would they have to be afraid of? The city could put the streetcar question to the people on the November ballot and find out."

    Except of course that there is more misinformation than truths out there. Whats the point of a vote if it isn't an informed choice, I believe thats what Jefferson called a mobocracy. It doesn't help when you have groups like COAST involved with voter FRAUD like back in 02.

  5. How many COAST leaders live in the city? Do you care what happens here? I heard Finney lives in Anderson. He's happy to support a proposal that will hurt the city.

  6. Jim Uber (who are you again?)- I'm not sure if you just emerged from a cave, but COAST has been up front about their opposition to the streetcar from the beginning. Go back and ready any one of these blog posts over the last several months. They all pretty clearly state that COAST is opopsed to the Streetcar Boondoggle.

    Surely you're not so feeble-minded that you can't recognize that wanting the people to have a right to vote on this issue and being against the streetcar aren't mutually exclusive.

  7. Union Terminal was privately funded, dumbasses. The Union Terminal Company even did extensive roadwork on its own dime, including construction of the Western Hills Viaduct.

  8. Provost, I think it's already been made quite clear by the comments following nearly every blog post that COAST doesn't care too much for getting the facts even remotely right. That's why one of them has to use a different user name to try and argue for them.

  9. You're right Travis, a subway tunnel that has sat dormant for 85 YEARS is not a boondoggle at all. It's an exceptional use of taxpayer money (sarcasm intended).

    "What is going to get us out of our City's decades of debt?"
    - I don't know. How about not spending Millions upon millions of dollars on unnecessary and unessental frivolities. How about growing our tax base by welcoming people back to Cincinnati with safer streets, more responsive government, and lower taxes in this economic downturn.

    Did the streetcar save the City of Detroit from decades of debt? Did it give Detroit a vibrant and thriving downtown area? Did it bring back the creative class and spur development that increased the tax base in Detroit? Did it create jobs in Detroit? did it mske Detroit Cleaner and safer?

  10. "Union Terminal was privately funded, dumbasses."

    First, thanks for contributing to the civil dialogue with name-calling. You're showing very clearly the true class that the streetcar advocates have.

    Second, you're right. The Union Terminal was privately funded. That's a great point. The rail companies in Cincinnati got together because they saw the creation of the terminal as more efficient, and a way to make more money. Conversely, private enterprise HAS NOT stepped up to fund the streetcars, knowing that it is a MEGA-MONEY LOSER. If there was a buck to be made corporations would be all over this, but they're not.

  11. The subway was killed because it was associated with the republican political machine and boss cox, not because it was a "boondoogle". No need to project your conservatism backwards, it already threatens our future no need for it to taint our past.

  12. UCstudent, your argument makes no sense. If the subway made sense they would have continued building it. The fact it was associated with a political machine doesn't make it economically more or less attractive.

    The reality is it was a money pit that only served to enrich those who profited off the deal. Kind of like the streetcar.

  13. Sorry you're wrong Prof! Read up a little about Murray Seasongood and "better study of this entire matter" that he commissioned. People were upset about the corruption and felt that the subway was yet another manifestation of it. It had nothing to do with the merits of a subway system.

  14. Hey, uh, Bris: Detroit doesn't have a streetcar or anything similar to what Cincinnati is proposing.

  15. Hey, uh,Ronny: Yes Detroit does have something similar to the streetcar that Cincinnati is planning. It's called the Detroit People Mover. It runs on a 2.9-mile single-track, one-way loop through the central business district of downtown Detroit.


  16. Um, Bris, Detroit is seeing a surge in ridership on the People Mover and economic development is happening within a two block radius:


    The People mover was intended to be funded at 600 million, but Reagan was elected and funding was cut. (Another example of Republicans claiming that government doesn't work and then proving it.)

    Plus, if you are using Detroit as the measure, I would say that there is more on Detroit's plate population-wise in the period from 1979 to present, that you are not factoring in.

    True, there are other factors which are playing into the re-investment of Detroit's downtown. But, you must not have taken a drive in Over the Rhine lately. Our economic development is already happening here. If the People Mover was such a boondoggle, why are they considering expanding it?

    People don't move into dilapidated buildings with tons of cop cars riding around them and low taxes. They move into communities. Pittsburgh tried the low business tax model and lost out to high tax Boston. Why? It's all about people and where they want to live and you guys don't seem to ever get that. You would rather keep a dime than feed or educate a child.

  17. >Conversely, private enterprise HAS NOT stepped up to fund the streetcars, knowing that it is a MEGA-MONEY LOSER. If there was a buck to be made corporations would be all over this, but they're not.

    Proctor & Gamble, 5/3, etc., were the impetus behind 3CDC *and* the streetcar. Why does the streetcar have the overwhelming support of council & the mayor? P&G knows a vibrant OTR is a priceless recruiting tool. COAST is trying to nip this political sea change at the bud and will fail.

  18. Provost -
    How much money has Proctor and Gamble put in to the streetcar? We were told at the outset that there would be a wave of private contributions to help fund the capital portion of the streetcar. IT NEVER HAPPENED. If P&G believes in it so much then why don't they put their money where their mouth is? Same with 5/3. How much have they contributed?

  19. Anonymous -

    The Detroit People Mover operates at a high cost per rider. The system was designed to move up to 15 million riders a year, yet in 2008 saw just over 2 million riders. - FAIL

    In fiscal year 1999-2000 the city was spending $3.00 for every $0.50 rider fare, according to The Detroit News. - FAIL

    The system has also required costly capital repairs that needed to be funded from the City's General Fund. - FAIL

    As of 2008, the system moves about 7,500 people per day, about 2.5 PERCENT OF CAPACITY of 288,000 riders. - FAIL

    The system requires $12 million in operating subsidies from the State and City of Detroit each and every year. - FAIL

    They can keep the streetcar in Detroit. OTR doesn't need that kind of success.

  20. "You would rather keep a dime than feed or educate a child."

    This is the height of hyperbole. What the hell does that have to do with the streetcar? Take a deep breath. I can assure you that any number of the anti-streetcar people are nevertheless opposed to children dying from starvation.

  21. Bris, the Detroit People Mover may be similar in length to the proposed streetcar route, but it is a poor comparison in other aspects. It circles Detroit's Central Business Dsitrict, as opposed to how Cincinnati's would connect it's uptown and downtown. The People Mover is well above ground, off street level while the proposed streetcar would run along with cars at street level in the public right-of-way. Businesses are able to operate right along the streetcar route. The People Mover also requires expensive above ground stations while the streetcar stops would be similar the shelters seen along bus routes.

    Also, you asked; "Jim Uber (who are you again?)." Jim Uber is a professor at the Center for Sustainable Urban Environments.

  22. Detroit is a failure because it's governed by Chris Smitherman-type crooks who played race politics and alienated all educated and ambitious people until there was literally nothing left. A Smitherman can never flourish in a city on the upswing, only one on the decline, and COAST is all about getting Smitherman in the mayor's seat.

    >IT NEVER HAPPENED. If P&G believes in it so much then why don't they put their money where their mouth is? Same with 5/3. How much have they contributed?

    Comical that smug COAST still hasn't figured out the pro-streetcar campaign strategy. Do you really think Mallory *wanted* to get on TV and say what needed to be said yesterday? All of COAST's cards are on the table months before November. That's no way to win a campaign.

  23. COAST,
    When is ever ok to spend tax dollars? I wish every tax dollar was scuntinized the way you scruntinize the streetcar. Why not as much scrutiny put on the banks? It costs a lot more money down there.I guarantee it and does not have the ROI as the streetcar. There are so many other wasteful things in the city. Such as the 1b spent in OTR on social services that we don't need. Or the prison re-entry program just rewarded to the VOA. Why not look at how much that will cost the city, maintaining the criminals from throughout the region once they are released here. Do some thinking. Don't pick an easy target because of it price tag or where it is going. And you know voters are stupid and will not become informed about the SC. And you are using that to your advantage. You want to defeat a project that does not have the blessing of COAST. The COAST who knows more that 2 independent engineering firms & UC economic development dept. They should have just asked COAST first. I guess. When is it ok to spend tax dollars?? Just curious

  24. I agree completely with the last writer. My 'hyperbole' about saving a dime to keep from feeding a child is exactly the type of overstatement that is the point. When is it OK to spend tax money? Half of every dollar you pay in taxes goes to military, either current or paying for the debt of past military adventures.

    What COAST represents is an attack on anything civic, anything that money would be spent on for the collective good. You keep mentioning how subsidized the People Mover was, or Amtrak, but you don't complain about the net subsidy for roads, bridges, airports, and the infrastructure drain of suburbia. Why is that?
    Also, the last writer was correct, why should we trust COAST over the engineering firms and UC?

    I went to a conversation about the Banks project and the UC representatives were opposed to how it was being handled. And these are the same individuals who went for broke with innovative architecture on the campus and are experiencing record student enrollments because of it. I think that they have a better track record and experience than COAST. The Banks will not be as innovative as it could be and people will wonder why.

    What expertise can you bring to the table from your vast experience of turning your own community of Westwood around?

  25. Bris,
    You keep wanting to tout how public transit is subsidized and that it is a failure because it can't pay for itself.
    Let's look at some stats about transit systems

    $1 trillion spent on roads and airports that perpetually need repair, year after year (why isn't private industry jumping in line to pay for this?)

    ratio of spending on roads compared to rail in the USA:

    ratio of spending on WATER transport compared to rail:

    airports pay less than half of their operating costs, the FAA pays more than private.

    our rail system ranks between Bolivia and Turkey on per capita spending of $1.64

    the average per capita spending on rail worldwide is: $21.85

    the highest per capita spending on rail is Switzerland at $228.29

    According to your own metrics of public vs private, roads and airports are the biggest boondoggle and waste of taxpayer money. Private industry should be lining up to fund it.

  26. Digging the Xenia Warrior Princess graphic you guys made!

    An assessment on alleged boondoggles:

  27. All of the things you cite as boondoggles (subway, transit center, etc.) have failed because muckrackers like you came in and stopped it half-way through or threw up so many roadblocks you exhausted the people with the ambition to look forward.

    Also, to your point about why the private companies haven't ponied up yet: Maybe it's because there's a ballot initiative coming up that might make those checks worthless? Yeah, if your crackpot scheme fails in November I guarantee the money comes pouring in.


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