Monday, September 23, 2013

First "monthly" streetcar report still avoids issue of operating budget

The "third rail" politically for the Cincinnati Streetcar is the massive annual operating deficit that will accompany the project.

And to date, the City has gingerly avoided the topic and the media has joined them in ignoring the the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

The reality is that every million dollars of operating deficit of the Streeetcar is ten fewer police officers on the street, ten fewer firefighters to keep us safe, and fifteen fewer trash collectors and snowplow operators to keep our City clean.

The Streetcar is estimated (by COASTers as the City refuses to estimate the operating deficit) to be $5 million to $10 million per year.  Yes, this does not include the massive $150 to $225 million construction cost.  The net cost to run the line from the Banks to Findlay Market will put Cincinnati $5 to $10 million further in the hole per year, each and every year.

Read the City's update here.  Read at page 19 how they discuss, and then avoid, projecting operating costs.  It's kind of funny when you read how they dance around the issue.

Someday soon, probably after the election when a new Mayor and Council are safely ensconced in Council for four year terms, the administration will come clean on the annual operating deficit. Until then, the voters are in the dark, and the Cincinnati media is willing to whistle right past the City's fiscal graveyard.

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