October 12th, 2009 By | News | Posted In: Public Transit, 2009 Election, Neighborhoods

Green Party: 'Yes' on Issue 9

The Southwest Ohio Green Party announced today that it supports the passage of Issue 9 in the November election. Its position is based, in part, over concerns the party has about whether Cincinnati’s proposed $102 million streetcar system is an effective economic development tool.

In a statement released by Green Party convener Joshua Krekeler, party members also said the proposed streetcar route is located along some of the Metro bus system’s busiest routes.

“The Southwest Ohio Green Party encourages voters to vote ‘yes’ on Issue 9, the Cincinnati ballot initiative that would require the city to hold a public vote before spending money on a streetcar or other passenger rail system,” it states.

“We have serious doubts about Cincinnati City Council's proposed streetcar plan. The Green Party supports urban mass transit plans that serve populations that need better transit service,” the statement continues. “The streetcar route would closely overlap existing transit service, and the city would have to fill the gap between fare revenue and the system's annual operating costs. This would place additional strain on the city's budget and could damage public perception of all passenger rail systems.”

The party believes other economic development projects should take precedence over streetcars.

“We question the assumption that the streetcar plan is a cost effective economic development project. We encourage City Council to focus on capital projects that will satisfy existing needs, particularly in lower-income communities,” it states. “The city should also pursue neighborhood-based development opportunities with a lower cost risk than the streetcar project. Investments with a proven record of success should be given a higher priority when deciding how to use limited public funds.”

If approved, Issue 9 would require a public vote on any rail-related project that goes through Cincinnati and uses city taxpayer money including the streetcar system and the proposed high-speed rail connector with Columbus and Cleveland advanced by President Obama.

Green Party leaders dislike the amendment’s broad impact but said it’s still worthwhile.

"We would prefer that the charter amendment on the ballot this fall were related only to the proposed streetcar plan,” according to the statement. “However, we also believe that citizens should be able to vote directly on major public expenses, and on this streetcar plan specifically.”

10.12.2009 at 10:09 Reply
"Issue 9 would require a public vote on any rail-related project that goes through Cincinnati and uses city taxpayer money" Actually ANY money including private money, Federal money or State money would trigger the vote if the money passes through any City Department or Board or Commission. This "Green" party prefers diesel and asphalt.


10.13.2009 at 12:45
We already have asphalt and buses that run on biodiesel. The Green Party supports Light Rail, but the streetcar isn't Light Rail. The city even has some brand new hybrid buses. The Green Party would prefer that the city put basic services over expensive projects that don't really improve services at all. The Green Party believes that taxpayers should have a say in what happens in their city. We belive a more Democratic Cincinnati is possible.


10.13.2009 at 12:48 Reply
Kevin, CityBeat and other media outlets have previously reported the cost of the streetcar at $185 million. Please explain why you are now using $102 million figure. Also how much will the operating costs be for the first 10-20 years?


10.16.2009 at 12:35
Justin, the $102 million figure likely refers to the first phase of the Streetcar, stretching from the Banks to the University of Cincinnati. The $185 million figure refers to the entire proposed system, stretching from the Banks to the Cincinnati Zoo.


11.02.2009 at 07:25 Reply
before i read this article i had my doubts about the streetcar plan from the beginning, i voiced this to all of my coworkers and friends who live downtown/otr/brighton etc. & was viewed as a heretic for my open minded skepticism i knew my analysis was legitimate! i need to trust myself more. its the same feeling i got last year standing in line for hours to vote for ralph - my conscience is clear - hows that afghan war & health care workin out for ya obamites?(dr. phil voice). this little rice a roni car only benefits the developers of dwntwn/otr condos. it doesn't serve the transportation needs of everyday citizens. its easy to get from dwntwn to clifton via mass transit, i did it for years.