Cincinnati Stripped From Receiving Funds For Streetcars In Transportation Budget

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In a marvelous display of partisan ideology masquerading as public policy, the Republican control Ohio Senate voted to prohibit state transportation dollars from being used for a proposed Cincinnati streetcar redevelopment plan that was the number one rated transportation project by the state of Ohio. Included in the transportation budget was language that:

“prohibit state or federal funds appropriated by the state from being used for the Cincinnati streetcar project.”

Of course no one should really be all that surprised about this. In fact, less than a week ago Governor Kasich was on the record in opposition of awarding $52 million to Cincinnati for the project. What is most upsetting about these latest developments is that the streetcar proposal had already been studied and had been projected to create thousands of new jobs and generate $1.5 billion in new economic development.

So what piece of information made Governor Kasich decide against using state funds for this project? His new transportation director Jerry Wray decided he didn’t like it.

Although studies project that the streetcar would produce thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development along the route from Downtown’s central riverfront to the Uptown communities near UC, Wray’s “analysis is that the streetcar is not a job creator,” Kasich said.

Oh, if you needed anymore understanding of Kasich’s rational he also added this:

“There’s a new sheriff in town…”


“I just don’t see anything that’s going to change. What they do in Portland – we’re not living in Portland. And by the way, I don’t want to live in Portland…”

So, what does this mean? Besides that we now know that the Governor has no intentions of moving to Portland, mostly that one of the largest urban areas in this state that has been experience declining population growth and worsening urban environments can kiss away whatever dreams they had of using the streetcar plan as a tool for economic development in a region that could desperately need it. This point is even worse in light of what the Cincinnati Streetcar Feasibility Study found when it looked at the amount of economic development cities had realized after implementing similar streetcar projects.

  • Portland – $2.8 Billion
  • Tampa – $1.1 Billion
  • Little Rock – $700 Million
  • Tacoma – $680 Million
  • Kenosha – $175 Million

I’m starting to think that either John Kasich and friends either don’t know what economic development means or they have a very odd understanding of it.

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  1. Given their economic development philosophies, I wouldn’t be too surprised if they found a way to give state incentives to bring Dunkin Donuts back to downtown Columbus.


  1. TRAC committee would rather not hear your thoughts on streetcar vote | Ohio Budget Watch

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