Mayor continues to lobby for streetcars - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Mayor continues to lobby for streetcars

By Jackie Sprague - bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati mayor Mark Mallory continues to think that streetcars are right for Cincinnati, especially after he just returned from Portland, Oregon to check out its street car system.

The streetcar project will cost around $185 million, and would connect downtown to Clifton, running through Over the Rhine.

But despite plenty of criticism for that plan, Mayor Mallory is defending it.

"If we invest this initial $128 million, most of which would be state, federal and private money, we will see an economic impact of about $1.4 billion, and I challenge anybody to show me a better investment," said Mallory.

Mayor Mallory says streetcars will provide a big economic boost, and Portland is proof.

"Cities that have developed streetcars have seen a tremendous economic development impact," he said.

Even though the city's facing a $28 million budget deficit, the streetcar project is moving along because it doesn't use money from the general fund.

The city needs federal dollars, but the mayor fears a November ballot measure may bring the project to a halt.

"If that measure passes it would be the end of streetcars, it would be the end of conversations about light rail, it would take us out of the running for federal money that we would need," said Mallory.

Putting the streetcar debate on the November ballot is up to Cincinnati City Council. The mayor says if they move forward on streetcars, the first phase could be done as early as 2012.

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