Why is focus still on streetcar, Banks?

By Corey McConnell - bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - As city leaders continue to grapple with how to tackle a $28 million budget deficit, there are questions being raised about projects like the streetcar and The Banks.

The city of Cincinnati's budget is lacking, and furloughs and layoffs are imminent, according to leaders.

So why are projects like the streetcar and The Banks not stalled? The answer is different pots of money.

The general fund has a deficit, while the fund dedicated to permanent improvements like the streetcar and The Banks does not. One can't be used to fund the other.

"We feel like it's a need and not a wants because the streetcar through economic impact study is proven to create jobs and increase tax revenue," said Leah Eriksen, Cincinnati's budget director.

Mayor Mark Mallory is in Portland, Oregon this week checking out their streetcar project. The tip was funded by money donated by Duke Energy to go towards anything that will attract new jobs and business. It can't go to the general fund. Same goes for the millions going into the Banks project.

"If we grow the tax base that's the easiest way to not have to cut because the pie is bigger," said Eriksen.

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