Friday, October 23, 2009

Boise Prepares to Vote on Streetcars

“Before the Boise City Council can enact any ordinance, measure or resolution for the purpose of spending City funds to construct, in the downtown section of the City, a streetcar or trolley system, with railroad tracks in the streets and electrified cables overhead, the Council must first obtain approval for said expenditure by the vote of over 50% of the legal voters of the City.”
This streetcar initiative petition is proposed by David Litster who is running for city council. The central themes of his campaign are, "Keeping a careful eye on city taxes and spending," and "Listening to the voters." He thinks the trolley plan fails both, and wants to make the city council and Mayor listen to the voters, and REQUIRE them to take instructions from the voters on this issue.

"The only reason I’m proposing this is because the Mayor has made it clear that he has the power to impose on the people this streetcar system and the $20 million tax increase that goes with it." And Litster goes on, "let me say that I hope that the voters will join me in this exercise in democracy and quickly gather the required 6,500 signatures as the first step in this process.

Last year Cincinnati became the first city in the United States to ban traffic enforcement cameras. Help continue Cincinnati's trend-setting tradition by voting YES ON ISSUE 9.


  1. He said that he is opposed to the "$20 million tax increase" for their plan. Thank goodness Cincinnati's leaders, along with colsultants and engineers, divised a system that WILL NOT RAISE TAXES.

  2. Do you honestly believe that David? You really believe that they will build and operate the Cincinnati Streetcar and not come back to the tax payers for more money?

  3. If there was a tax increase associated with the Cincinnati Streetcar plan, we would be voting on it. Since there is NO tax increase with Cincinnati's plan, it doesn't have to be voted on -- much like we aren't going to vote on the Kennedy Connector, the new Western Hills Viaduct, the new Brent Spence Bridge, new streetscaping projects, or other projects that don't involve tax increases.

    Boise is voting for one reason and only one reason: their plan raises taxes. Ours doesn't.

  4. Mr. Listser was also smart enough to just put the streetcar to a vote, rather than all passenger rail improvements in Boise. If you guys would have kept the language to something similar to Boise's petition, you would have had a much greater chance for success, and many more supporters. Oh well. Your loss is our gain.

  5. yes means means yes..
    ha good luck with the voters understanding that yes on 9 to stop the streetcar?? Or is it the other way around?

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  7. The Mayor of DetroitOctober 24, 2009 at 10:16 AM

    Inter-City rail has done wonders for my city. If you want Cincinnati to be like my City, put in a streetcar system.

  8. Jason,
    Travis and Ben have put their full faith and backing in the government bureaucrats at City Hall.

    They fully believe the financial projections of the government bureaucrats and pointy headed professors at UC. You know, the same folks that just this year foolishly projected that Cincinnati would have 3% revenue growth in the midst of a recession -- when in fact an 8% revenue decline materialized. After all, they were only off by 11% and tens of millions of dollars. These were also the same people who told us that the Stadium Tax fund would be solvednt and that building the Stadiums would create hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenues from economic development.

    They have full faith that the greedy politicians that they adore at City Hall will not come back for an earnings tax increase to pay for trolley-folly operations. They also have full faith that their beloved, all-knowing elected officials will not try to grab our money through tax increases that do not require a vote of the people. You know, like the new trash collection tax they just tried to sneak past us this past year, and eliminating the property tax rollback, which they try to do every year.

    No, no, no. It's just not possible that the City of Cincinnati will ever try to squeeze more tax money out of us to pay for a streetcar operating deficit that they themselves projec twill run the the millions of dollars every single year.

  9. They're not the same people. The stadium project was a county project, the streetcar project will use zero county money and involves county government in no way whatsoever. COAST uses this lie to their advantage at every chance.

    The strain put on county finances by construction of The Banks is largely due to the huge parking garages the project requires -- acres and acres of parking garages. With a countywide rail system like the Metro Moves plan the county would not need to build as much parking at a cost of $20,000 per parking space. If Metro Moves had passed, people from far and wide could have ridden any of three commuter rail lines to your hated Riverfront Transit Center or any of four light rail lines converging one 2nd and 3rd St. from Mason, Springdale, the I-74 line, or Florence. They could walk to their neighborhood station or drive to a park & ride. Surface parking is way cheaper out in the corn fields.

    But instead of using government money to help individuals save money by driving & parking less or not even needing a car, COAST keeps the parking garage racket alive. Notice that COAST doesn't ever mention the cost of staffing the city's parking department, only costs associated with public transportation that eliminates the need for parking facilities and the need to staff them.

  10. They are the same people Provost. The streetcar progressors like to tout the University of Cincinnati Economic Department study as proof that all of this private investement and economic development will take place. These are the same bozos that studied the Stadium issue and told the County what an financial windfall it would be. You progressors lie and rely on people's short memories to your advantage at every chance. Face it, the people who are telling you how great this will be financially have been thoroughly dicredited over and over again.

    There's a problem with your metromoves scenario. The people of Hamilton County OVERWHELMINGLY said no to it at the polls. It lost badly in the County, and even lost inside the City limits. The people don't want the garbage you are selling, which is why you are so deathly afraid of a public vote on transit.

    Vote YES on Issue 9. STOP the streetcar boondoggle!

  11. The stadiums were a huge $1 billion+ county project; the streetcar is a much smaller city project -- about 1/10th the capital cost. Completely different people are involved. There has been complete turnover in county and city government with the exception of Roxanne Qualls, who left town and came back during that period.

    Anyone advertising that public referenda operate in some sparkling tautology is someone with a trick up their sleeve. The 6-1 vote in 1916 which authorized bonds for a 16-mile rapid transit railway within the city's boundaries came on the heels of the wildly successful construction of a 250-mile railroad to Chattanooga just 25 years prior. If the Cincinnati Southern project had been a failure, it's unlikely that the subway bond issue would have passed, even though they're completely unrelated projects.

    The defeat of Metro Moves plan in 2002 was heavily influenced by the region's poor self-image after the 2001 riot, the subsequent boycott, and the poor performance of the Reds and Bengals. That and none of our immediate neighbors have modern transit systems. It's been speculated that rail finally passed in Seattle because of the success of systems in neighboring Portland and Vancouver.

    Houston, Dallas, Seattle, Minneapolis, Charlotte, and Salt Lake City all built rail transit lines this decade, leaving only Cincinnati and Detroit as top 25 cities with no rail transit. It's not 1995 anymore, which means gas isn't 83 cents anymore and there aren't a dozen top-25 cities with no rail.

    According to Mark Miller, the study touting the economic benefits of the Brent Spence Boondoggle is a document above reproach. Never mind that while the new bridge might survive 100 years, the world's cheap oil will be gone long before that. Gas tax revenues will collapse and the project will never pay for itself without tolls or a switch to a mileage tax. A mileage tax is a Libertarian's nightmare since a government-made GPS device will track all of your movements. No on 9!

  12. The Mayor of DetroitOctober 25, 2009 at 11:43 AM

    Detroit does have rail in our City. It's called the Detroit People Mover and runs a loop through downtown Detroit. You can see how successful it has made our downtown. Want Cincinnati to be more like Detroit - get a streetcar boondoggle of your own.

  13. The Detroit People Mover, despite being only 2 miles long and only traveling in one direction, gets as much ridership (7,500) as each of Cincinnati's three busiest bus routes. The #4, #17, and #45 are each 15+ mile routes. So the Detroit Peoplemover's per-mile ridership crushes that of any Cincinnati bus route.

    The Detroit People Mover crushes Cincinnati bus ridership despite it being *designed to fail*. Would the Big 3 really ever allow something that competes with their product succeed in an area where they control the politicians?

    The People Mover only has one track, meaning the trains can only go clockwise. Would an interstate highway ever be built that can only travel in one direction? Second, the people mover's stations are connected to office buildings on the second-floor level, meaning they do not give the appearance of being open to the public. Third, the People Mover was intended to be the downtown distributor for a light rail network that -- surprise -- was never built.

    Miami, FL, a much smaller metro than Detroit, built a downtown bi-directional People Mover at the same time and the same technology WITH a transit line that heads in two directions out into the suburbs. The Miami system gets a combined 97,000 daily riders (not including buses), more than 10X the rail ridership, and downtown Miami is certainly not the business hub that downtown Cincinnati is.

    What was your point again?

  14. Provost -
    Wow, whay awesome ridership numbers for the Detroit people mover. Of course the People Mover’s operational costs exceeded $3 per passenger mile every year and topped $5 per passenger mile for five of those years. In 1999, it spiked to $14.64. Detroits bus system does it for less than a dollar. Would those people be using it if they had to pay the full cost of a ride instead of forcing the over-taxed citizens of Detroit to pick up the tab for them? Unlikely. Streetcar/Urban rail = higher taxes.

    Furthermore, WOW, a whopping 7500 people. Did you know that their estimate during the leadup to the People Mover's construction was 70,000 riders. Hey, they only overestimated ridership by ten times. They must have used the vaunted UC Economic Development Department whose figures you trust so much to do their study. Streetcar/Urban Rail = government boondoggle.

    The City of Detroit's subsidy of the People Mover's operational costs is usually over $8 million and sometimes more than $10 million. When ridership during the People Mover's first year was falling well short of expectations, the Mayor proposed a city budget that would have increased the system’s subsidy to $8.3 million. Not surprisingly, the same budget included a $9.8 million cut to the city police, eliminating 264 law enforcement jobs. Streetcar/Urban Rail = fewer police and higher crime.

    I think that's the point.


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