$52 Million dollars from the State of Ohio will not come to the Cincinnati streetcar project. Is this decision politics or simple economics?
It was only a short time ago when the Ohio's TRAC board claimed that Cincinnati's streetcar was a great thing and named it the highest priority transportation project in the State of Ohio.
"We've been the highest-scoring project in the State of Ohio and a system that is based on points, that expects to award money based on how you score. I would expect that system to produce quite a bit of money for the city of Cincinnati." Mayor Mark Mallory told FOX19.
That is true.
The state's TRAC board assigns points on a scale of 1 to 100 to a projects' worthiness. The Cincinnati streetcar earned 84 points which placed it as the highest-scoring transportation project in the entire state.
Despite that, Ohio Governor John Kasich wasn't convinced. "A hundred million into a streetcar that a lot of the business community says doesn't make any sense. The whole build it and they will come is not a real good philosophy when we have a situation where we have limited resources on infrastructure." says Kasich.
The part about limited resources is also true.
With an 8 billion dollar budget shortfall, the State of Ohio's TRAC board, was considering Tuesday, requests for $167 million dollars in new projects. The TRAC board cut $98 million out, including the 52 million for Cincinnati's street car.
What they approved for the entire state for new construction was only $70 million dollars.
What you need to know:
The money is not coming from the state because at the end of the day whether the streetcar scored 84 TRAC points or 8 doesn't really matter. The former rating came under a different Governor and different administration.
Had the street car funding gone through, that would mean one quarter of all the funding for new construction in the state. would go to a 4 mile long street car route that is already served by city buses. Under Governor John Kasich, that is not going to happen.