Cincinnati City Councilman Charlie Winburn is asking city officials to help his free Cincinnati Downtown Trolley on wheels in order to make it easier for people to get to work and back, and to downtown entertainment venues.
Winburn is also asking his colleagues to use some of the $25 million grant from the Federal Transportation Administration that has been earmarked for the streetcar for the purchase of 15 new sustainable trolleys to transport riders throughout Greater Cincinnati.
The proposed Cincinnati Downtown Trolley, Winburn says, will create benefits similar to the Downtown Trolley in Cleveland which has over 4,000 riders each day.
Winburn has filed a motion asking the City Manager Milton Dohoney to do the following:
- Direct the City Manager to study the feasibility of implementing a Cincinnati Downtown Trolley on wheels modeled after the Cleveland Downtown Trolley sponsored by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority as an alternative to the proposed Cincinnati Streetcar Project with a view toward promoting economic development, creating jobs and expanding our tax base.
- Direct the City Manager to invite key business leaders from the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to visit the City of Cincinnati and brief the Mayor and City Council on the success of the Cleveland Downtown Trolley. (Additionally, the Mayor and City Council should schedule a trip to Cleveland in order to study the Cleveland Downtown Trolley firsthand, just as was done with the trips to look at the Portland, OR streetcar system.)
- Direct the City Manager to consider the following as it relates to compiling information on the proposed Cincinnati Downtown Trolley:
- Work with the U.S. Department of Transportation to determine if the allocated funds for the Cincinnati Streetcar Project can be used to support a Downtown Cincinnati Trolley.
- Study the feasibility of implementing the Cincinnati Downtown Trolley by expanding it beyond the limited downtown-to-uptown Cincinnati Streetcar route to Westwood, Western Hills, Sharonville, Springdale, Norwood, and Blue Ash. This expansion would link these communities directly to downtown where many jobs are centralized in the business district.
- Provide City Council with a plan on how we can utilize all funds from all sources which have previously been set aside for the Cincinnati Streetcar Project – such as Duke Energy, Blue Ash Airport, private funds, and state and federal grants – in order to support all city transportation alternatives such as the Cincinnati Downtown Trolley. The Trolley should be linked with all communities to support more citizens who live and work in Greater Cincinnati.
- Work with the Cincinnati Business Committee and the greater business community to identify (1) private sector funding and underwriting, (2) the best routing, and (3) an easily identifiable type of vehicle to address this need. The feasibility for connections to locations beyond downtown into the Greater Cincinnati region should also be part of the plan.