If you haven’t checked out the new transportation blog in town yet, now’s a great time to head over to CBus Transit. There’s a very good post explaining attempts to thwart Cincinnati’s streetcar, and in the process the Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati inter-city Amtrak route too.
Cincinnati is poised to derail the state-wide and regional plans for intercity and high-speed rail through one organization’s anti-rail tirade and another organization’s lack of oversight.
Cincinnati has been planning for some time to build a streetcar loop through its downtown, but anti-transit and anti-tax groups have been gathering to defeat the proposal. COAST, Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes, and Cincinnati’s local chapter of the NAACP have teamed up to force a ballot question on the issue. The NAACP believes the money will be better used elsewhere in the city, while COAST is largely opposed to all government ventures of the type. Together, the two have successfully petitioned to get a charter amendment on the ballot, but if approved, the measure would have unintended consequences.
According to this article, the proposed ballot language is as follows:
Be it resolved by the people of the City of Cincinnati that a new Article XVI of the Charter is hereby added as follows: The City, and its various Boards and Commissions, may not spend any monies for right-of-way acquisition or construction of improvements for passenger rail transportation (e.g., a trolley or streetcar) within the city limits without first submitting the question of approval of such expenditure to a vote of the electorate of the City and receiving a majority affirmative vote for the same.
As worded, the ordinance would include all passenger rail, including the 3C corridor if City funds were to be involved. There is hope though. The proposed language can be edited by the council before going to the ballot:
Although the signature drive’s success compels Cincinnati City Council to place the issue on the ballot, council members are not bound by the petitions’ precise wording and are expected to decide that potentially contentious matter at their next meeting Aug. 5.
Since this issue in Cincinnati would have impacts on the rest of Ohio, I suggest contacting Cincinnati’s City Council to let them know you oppose including all forms of passenger rail in the wording of this ballot issue.