Friday, May 10, 2013

A helpful idea for City Hall

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and City Manager Milton Dohoney are always complaining that COAST is forever criticizing, but never helping them to properly manage the City.

We certainly want to break that reputation once and for all.  Thus, we tender this helpful idea offered today from a COASTer:

As you know Qualls & Mallory ordered streetcar vehicles from Spain before they had the rest of the budget in place, and probably to serve as a poison pill to induce subsequent administrations not to cancel the boondoggle project.  This presents a problem to an incoming Cranley or Berns administration, i.e. what to do with $20.5 million worth of trolley cars having no tracks to run them on.

See Portland Business Journal article “Why Tucson has had it with Oregon Iron Works.”

Long story short, Tucson ordered their cars from Oregon Iron works (OIW) in Portland, who is already months late, and giving all indications of being years late.  OIW has failed to meet delivery commitments to the City of Portland for 5 vehicles.  They have so far delivered 1 vehicle, which won’t run for more than a day or 2 without breaking down.  OIW seems overwhelmed by the service issues, which persist.  Portland isn’t imposing sanctions on OIW because they’re local.  However, Portland’s tracks are complete, and the lack of vehicles is making their latest streetcar project look stupid due to 20-30 minute wait times for the 1 sometimes-running vehicle.

Tucson is positively livid.  Their tracks are nearing completion, and it has been a VERY painful process.  Several downtown Tucson businesses closed up shop after their customers disappeared during the months-long construction period when streets were torn up.  The City of Tucson promised everyone who remained “it will be worth it afterwards” and now they look supremely stupid for repeating OIW’s promises.  Tucson Council members want to hang OIW with whatever liquidated damages they can get away with.

Cincinnati’s cars will be arriving from Spain a little bit after Tucson’s should have arrived from OIW.  It seems like an incoming Cincinnati administration could strike a deal with Tucson to offload our white elephants and help Tucson solve their Portland problem. 
So, for our haters out there, please don't suggest that we never try to help.  It's just an idea.

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