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A site dedicated to Cincinnati's Over the Rhine neighborhood.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Streetcar Update: One step forward another step back...

Enquirer Article
It seems that every time we hear good news about the streetcar project moving forward, they have to throw out one more possibility for losing the whole deal.
The city council financial committee met yesterday to vote on moving forward with the streetcar proposal.
The good news:
-$800,000 was approved to begin studies required for gaining federal approval for funds for the uptown link
The bad news:
-Councilman Chris Monzel proposed a referendum be used to "be sure residents had a chance to weigh in"

In my opinion a referendum of any sort, binding or non-binding, would create another opportunity for delaying the start time so long that the whole project would be in danger of losing supporters and never happening. If they do approve a referendum be added it will be absolutely essential that supporters rally together in great numbers to make sure they get a majority vote over the opponents. This could get interesting. Lets continue to hope that the city council makes a wise decision that would be beneficial for OTR (pass the streetcars!!!) and not one that would keep all the suburbanites in West Chester happy.

10 comments:

Matt Hunter Ross said...

Oh god - here we go again...

Nice post.

Anonymous said...

Monzel's motion is dangerous. If I was an elected official I would not want to take the stance that the voters shouldn't have a stay. It could be an opportunity. If it truly will be a city-wide system, and there is no need for additional tax, then it should easily pass. The rhetoric needs to be shaped so that a. we have a plan, b. no additional money (taxes) is needed, and c. this will improve the tax base. Sadly this case is being articulated poorly. If the referendum passes to do the streetcar, then the opposition completely collapses.

Work remains, and I have heard that a council candidate polled the issue in the fall. The results showed 35% for the streetcar, 55% opposed, and 10% undecided.

Jason said...

I agree that a lot of work remains. Also you are right that the referendum needs to be very carefully worded and at the same time a lot of effort needs to be made to make sure that those opposed understand the benefits of a streetcar system before they make up their minds and vote against it.
We are not out of the woods yet.

mvoss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mvoss said...

In my opinion the committee needs to embody a more activist approach. A project of this size can be overwhelming for a community, particularly one that is so detached from the city center. But this is changing and we all know it. Up and coming generations are looking for a more urban and alternative life style and Cincinnati must account for this otherwise we lose. It is the job of local government to think long term whether or not the constituency is. I'm living in Detroit right now and there is no better example of a place more short sighted. Moderation is important but let’s remind ourselves of the big picture and make the right decision. The street car proposal must pass!

krista said...

i agree. it will bring much more life into an area that currently essentially has none. let's be serious. young people want spice, and cincinnati needs to spice it up. :)

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, young people don't vote in local elections. Old, conservative people that demand a bigger piece of the pie right now, do vote. You have to convince them or its rough sledding ahead.

Anonymous said...

You're right in thinking that voter imput is the West Chester and other exurb dwellers who oppose and demean the "trolley cars" Perhaps urbanites should have voted on IKEA coming to the area.

Jimmy_James said...

There's no reason for a referendum. There won't be a tax increase, and the city desperately needs to start building some sort of rail system. This is the very reason that we have a city council; to make decisions like this that will lead the city in one direction or another. If we vote on this, why not just vote on everything and eliminate city council entirely. This is either a stall tactic by Monzel, Monzel trying to cover his ass in case public opinion goes the other way, or both. In any case, it's distressing to see a councilmen shirking his responsibility, passing off important decisions to a vote because he doesn't want to be held accountable for choosing a side. Sad.

mvoss said...

Right on Jimmy!

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