Highlights – 022812 Cincinnati Streetcar

What kind of city leadership refuses to respond to a taxpayer’s 5 registered letters requesting information related to a $300 million ($150 million capital cost; $75 million of annual losses; $75 million of interest, if only $60 million is borrowed) taxpayer commitment? 1. The city administration proposal is built on the assumption that private investors will invest $1.5 billion along the 1.6 mile streetcar route (3.9 miles of one-way track) during the next 15 years… investment of about $100 million per 500 feet of streetcar route…. investment rate of $100 million per year for 15 years. 2. The November 2011 city referendum has an estimated spending of $99.5 million. Current costs, using the feasibility assumptions and recent articles describing updated costs, total approximately $153 million. When was the incremental 50% increased spending approved? 3. Current costs and established financing leave a funding gap of $50 million, and the city has broken ground. How will this funding gap be filled? 4. The city used an outdated 5-year old feasibility study, built on investment assumptions developed before the US economy suffered the worst financial crisis in more than 70 years. The feasibility study should be updated to current economic conditions. 5. At the groundbreaking, the US Secretary of Transportation announced that American workers would produce the streetcars. If the city did not open the streetcar to competitive bids (including the Czech company that produced most of the streetcars used in the US) city administration failed to comply with the municipal code, which requires competitive bids on contracts greater than $5,000. 6. The only company that produces streetcars in the US has never produced a production streetcar, and the only prototype produced failed to function as required. A new propulsion system is being developed for yet another attempt to meet Portland municipal requirements. The new prototype will be delivered later in 2012. 7. The city administration ignored the contractual commitment established in the “Blue Ash Airport” property sale agreement that they negotiated in 2006 until challenged by a concerned taxpayer. The city intended to close the airport and use the sale proceeds to fund the streetcar.

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