Thursday, March 27, 2008 3:27 AM
By Robert Vitale and Tim Doulin
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Shoppers, drivers, diners and drinkers are among the people most likely to pay for a Columbus streetcar line that Mayor Michael B. Coleman officially endorsed yesterday, two years after he first raised the idea.
…And at least three-quarters of the money would come from a zone that extends three blocks to either side of the line, covering “people who work and play” Downtown, in the Short North, in Victorian and Italian villages and in the University District.
The group’s discussions have included possible surcharges on hotel rooms, parking spaces and restaurant tabs. Coleman, his aides and others involved in the process wouldn’t confirm such surcharges as the recommended source of funding within the so-called benefit zone, but they wouldn’t rule them out, either.
Coleman called the financing plan “sound, sensible and rational,” but he focused more yesterday on what its sources won’t be. Income taxes won’t be raised to pay for streetcars, he said, and the city won’t levy any tax or special assessment on businesses along the route.
But those who would get the most out of streetcars should pay the most, the mayor said.
Don’t forget about tonight’s meeting.