As part of CityBeat's continuing election coverage, we’ve once again sent a questionnaire to the non-incumbent Cincinnati City Council candidates to get their reactions on a broad range of issues.
Nine of the 14 non-incumbents chose to answer our questions. Others either didn’t respond or couldn’t meet the deadline.
During the next few weeks, we will print the responses from the non-incumbents to a different topic each time.
Today’s question is, “Do you support or oppose the city's streetcar system as currently planned and financed?”
Mike Allen (Independent): “I do not support the streetcar system as currently constituted. We need to prioritize our resources and fully fund the most important services. The streetcar is too expensive, and is not part of a long-term, strategic transportation solution.”
Kevin Flynn (Charterite): “I support the development of the streetcar as an economic development tool and job creator. All of the studies show, and all of the cities which have invested in streetcars have demonstrated, economic benefits for the city many times greater than the investment. We cannot continue to make cuts in services and play accounting tricks in order to balance our budget. In order to sustain our city in the long-term, we need to grow our city and invest in the infrastructure that will encourage private investment.
“I support the current plan as a first phase of a larger system that will connect our uptown hospital/university district with our downtown entertainment/Central Business District. I would like to see the city pay for construction with Tax Increment Financing revenues generated by increased property values along the streetcar route.”
Nicholas Hollan (Democrat): “I strongly support the streetcar plan because I see it as an opportunity to simultaneously encourage economic growth and promote rail transit.”
Patricia McCollum (Independent): “I do not support the streetcar because the funds can be reallocated to our existing transportation which has been negatively impacted and routes have been consolidated to save tax dollars.”
Catherine Smith Mills (Republican): “When the plan was first unveiled, I served on the Cincy PAC board, which endorsed the plan based on its economic development potential. Unfortunately, the times have changed and so has the streetcar plan. I cannot support a plan that no longer has state funding, that is taking city dollars while we have a $33 million deficit, and no longer will connect downtown with the uptown area. I am in favor of better transit options to reduce pollution like bus rapid transit, bike paths, and planning more walkable communities.”
Sandra Queen Noble (Independent): “I'm innate Law Enforcement. I'll hold government officials criminally accountable for not exercising fiscal discipline with public funds used to pay off city, state, county and federal Revere deficits. Stop railroading the public funds. My idea is to turn car and truck windows into LDS screens for instant 3D Internet and entertainment assets. It will save time and trouble carting mobile laptop appendages everywhere you travel. Now, thats enhancement and advancement that wont charge the public $13 million.”
Jason Riveiro (Democrat): “Yes, I support the streetcar as currently planned.”
Chris Seelbach (Democrat): “Support. Period. Once on council, I will work to make sure it is funded in a sustainable way that does not cut into core services. In the long run, it is clear that the streetcar will increase city revenues by raising property value along the route and leading to increased development and investments. Transportation, including the streetcar, is my top priority.”
P.G. Sittenfeld (Democrat): “The city's focus right now needs to be on basic services ahead of streetcars but the reality is, this project is now in the hands of the voters, and I will respect the direction they give us in November. I plan to vote 'no' on Issue 48 because tying the city's hands for such a long duration and denying citizens the chance to revisit critical issues and changing circumstances when it comes to transportation or any other city function is bad governance that I cannot support.”