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Cincinnati - December 2002

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Cincinnati — Streetcar to Go Forward

Rail Transit Online, December 2002

Despite the overwhelming defeat of MetroMoves (see follwoing paragraph), planning for a four-mile (6.4 km), $130-million streetcar loop through Cincinnati and across the Ohio River to Covington and Newport, Kentucky will continue.  The trolley, backed by developers Southbank Partners of Northern Kentucky and Downtown Cincinnati Inc., would have shared track with the proposed light rail system but can still be built as a stand-alone line (see RTOL, Apr. 2002).  Funding could come from taxes on off-street parking facilities adjacent to the route or some other auto-related source.  “It would have to be some creative tax, maybe on autos using roads and parking lots near the loop,” Wally Pagan, who leads a joint committee on the streetcar, told the Cincinnati Post.  “It would have to be some way to eliminate cars on the road.”   Any new tax would, of course have to be approved by the three cities and possibly by the state legislature, although the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments has endorsed the idea.  The project is still in the conceptual stage and the proposed route is currently bus-operated by Southbank Partners and the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky..

A sales tax hike to finance the local share of MetroMoves, a massive $2.7-billion transportation program, was buried by Hamilton County voters by a proportion of more than 2 to 1. The cornerstone of the plan was a 60-mi. (96.5 km), five-line light rail system that could have been expanded to surrounding counties in both Ohio and northern Kentucky.  Metro General Manager and CEO Paul Jablonski said he was disappointed but predicted that light rail will eventually will become a reality.


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