Incoming council weighs in on streetcar

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Few issues have divided the city as much as the street car. Despite at least one council member switching sides, right now it would appear a majority on city council want the project killed.

"I oppose the streetcar," states Councilman-elect Kevin Flynn.

Flynn left little doubt about his position while discussing the project on WLW this morning. Flynn says cost projections on building and operating the streetcar are far too low.

"We're about 110 to 115 million total costs in. The estimated benefit was 390 million," says Flynn. "So you're talking about a $280 million economic benefit. Those numbers were wrong in 2007, they're way wrong now."

The idea of establishing a special improvement district around the streetcar route has been discussed.  People living in that district would be taxed at a higher rate to pay for operating the street car. Flynn says that idea won't work.

"The special improvement district couldn't bring in enough money, number one. Number two, operating costs increase," says Flynn.

Supporters, meanwhile, argue that the streetcar is an economic development tool, but Flynn begs to differ.

"The economic benefit doesn't outweigh the economic cost and so it's not a driver it's a detriment it'd be better to just give those people the money and it would be a better economic driver," says Flynn.

Estimates of shutting the project down run anywhere from $34 to $47 million. Mayor-elect John Cranley and some members of council would like an independent review of those figures.

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