First Posted: 8/17/2009 10:14:52 AM | Last Updated: 8/17/2009 10:37:51 AM
At a meeting of the Downtown Resident’s Council (DRC) last week, a sometimes heated debate ensued regarding Streetcars in Cincinnati. Mark Miller from COAST (they oppose the streetcars) and John Schneider from Cincinnatians for Progress (pro-streetcars) both presented their side of the argument. The DRC drafted a response in opposition to the amendment proposed by COAST. That response was adopted without opposition by a vote of the membership.
The Amendment as proposed by COAST reads as follows: “An Amendment to the Charter of the City of Cincinnati To Prevent the Expenditure of Monies by the City for Right-of-Way acquisition or construction of improvements for Passenger Rail Transportation (e.g., a trolley or streetcar) without first submitting the same to a vote of the Electorate and receiving a majority affirmative vote for the same.” This Amendment would require that any rail project first be subject to a general vote whether it would require a tax increase or not. The DRC opposes the Amendment for the following reasons: 1) The language clearly applies to all passenger rail. 2) The first project that would be affected by the Amendment would be the proposed Inter-City Rail connecting Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. 3) The intent of the Amendment is to stop all passenger rail. 4) Projects that have no associated tax increase will require a citywide vote. 5) The DRC feels that this Amendment is not targeted at streetcars since they do not require right-of-way acquisition but is instead targeted at light rail and passenger rail.
If Cincinnati is to progress light rail is a very important part of the equation, not just for city residents, but for the entire area. While I am strongly against the Amendment and pro light rail, I urge you to become better educated on this important issue. Many major cities across the United States such as Pittsburg, Houston, Salt Lake City, Portland Oregon, have very successful light rail programs You can find out more about light rail by visiting www.protransit.com. You can also find out more about COAST at www.wedemandavote.com.