View Full Version : Issue 9 - Right of way aqquisition for passenger rail

10-31-2009, 12:08 PM
I figure this issue applies to a number of people on this forum, so I figure I would bring it up, since it is a bit misleading.

Passing this amendment would force a vote for the smallest construction, alteration, or improvement of passenger rail in the limits of Cincinnati. So a yes vote would force city leaders to bring the issue before voters before anything could be built.


"Shall the Charter of the City of Cincinnati be amended to prohibit the city, and its various boards and commissions, from spending 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 major affirmative vote for the same, by enacting new Article XIV?"

Issue 9 is commonly know as the streetcar issue, but it is actually an infinite restriction on the expanse of passenger rail and will permanently kill any new rail system. This has been marketed as a simple issue, to have a streetcar or not, the streetcar is squat compared to what this issue will do if it is passed. This issue basically says, the smallest amount of requested funding (small repairs on tracks, etc) will have to be voted on. There will be too much red tape to actually maintain any new rail system (if it were to be passed).

As some of you know, there is currently a shovel ready project to bring passenger rail from Cleveland, to Columbus, to Cincinnati, then into Kentucky. High speed rail is the direction things are going it seems, look at Japan, Europe, or select US cities. If this issue passes, it will immediately kill this new project for Cincinnati, they will build around us. Why? I imagine one issue is time, because it would have to be voted on. The other issue is that, they would have to put it before the people of Cincinnati, if they needed to get funding to repair a small area of damaged track.

If you do not think that this will effect you, think again, When companies are looking to build a new factory or office, they may not choose Cincinnati because potential rail will be impossible to build. This effect will ripple far beyond Cincinnati boundaries. Cincinnati needs to be an anchor city that supports the surrounding area. Imagine if P&G left.

On a side note, the streetcar. The first phase looks like a waste of money because it serves such few people. The problem is that the potential has not been well marketed. In Portland, Oregon, the city of comparison when it comes to streetcars, their systems have been developed and expanded over the past 30 years. They have created a large network of passenger rail, serving a huge number of people. This type of investment takes time and is why it needs to be started now. Long term infrastructure investment is one of the best way to spend money, infrastructure and access is one of the main considerations when businesses are deciding upon a location.

On a very small scale, this would be similar to requiring a vote on the smallest highway or road improvement/construction, nothing would ever be accomplished. Permanently tying the hands of the city is the wrong way to vote down the streetcar. I am sorry to those who do not want to streetcar, I wish it was not tried into this amendment. It wish it could be voted down and still preserve the right to build other passenger rail.

Please take these issues into consideration and do not let it turn into a streetcar issue, the gained monies from not building the streetcar will be small potatoes compared to the loss of economic potential as a long term result of this amendment.