Governor Kasich: Cincinnati streetcar idea a waste

Published: Mar. 19, 2011 at 3:01 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 19, 2011 at 1:47 PM EDT
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By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email|Facebook

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Ohio Governor John Kasich is calling-out the failed high-speed rail as a waste of money. He's been in the news a lot, generating heat on everything from the budget to collective bargaining.

And he was on the defensive when asked about Senate Bill 5 and more.

"We had a group of people that thought that a train that goes 39 miles an hour was going to be good for Ohio," the Governor quipped. "High-speed by the way, did you check that out? It's like jumbo shrimp."

Our Stefano DiPietrantonio posed three tough questions to the Governor, dealing with the budget, Senate Bill 5 and the streetcar.

And despite the streetcar being Mayor Mark Mallory's pet project, Kasich made it clear he is not a fan.

Stef asked a simple yes or no question, would Kasich cut State funding for the streetcar?

The Governor, by the way, was in Cincinnati at UC, checking-out some incredible engineering inventions being developed in the labs in Rhodes Hall.

There, scientists are developing things that could propel new job growth and bring people back to Ohio.

"The number one issue in this state is creating jobs," Kasich said.

Governor Kasich made it clear, nothing holds a higher priority. With that in mind, question one.

"Governor Kasich, how will ending collective bargaining bring jobs to Ohio?," Stef asked.

"Well look, the collective bargaining is all about, first of all, we don't end collective bargaining, what we say is that you can bargain for wages and you can bargain for working conditions," Governor Kasich said.

Kasich said balance needs to be restored between government workers and the people who pay the bills for government workers. This, when 9.4 percent of Ohioans are unemployed.

"This idea, somehow, that this is unfair, you know, I don't think so," Kasich said. "I think it's extremely fair for government workers, to be in a position, to be treated like the people who pay the bills, the taxpayers, and it's restoring the sense of balance."

Question number two, what kinds of changes will schools be forced to make, working with fewer federal dollars?

"People get worked-up about that," Kasich said. "I think they don't trust the mayor, they don't trust the City Council, they must not trust the Superintendent, they must not trust the School Board. I think those folks are in a very good position to be able to determine what's fair."

"There are many people in local government who will send us a thank you note in ten years when they're no longer in office," he said.

Finally, we asked about cutting state money for the streetcar. Stef could not get a yes or no answer.

"Are you going to pull the state funding?," Stef asked.

"Well, I think you know the answer to that don't you?," the Governor shot back.

Kasich said his Director of Transportation found the streetcar is not a job creator. He said he respects the intensity Mayor Mallory has invested in the project.

"A hundred million into a streetcar that a lot of the business community says doesn't make any sense," Kasich said. "But the idea, build it and they will come is not a real good philosophy when we have a situation where we have limited resources on infrastructure."

"We absolutely want to work with him," Kasich said of Mayor Mallory.

"So, State money from you is not coming to our streetcar?," Stef asked again.

"I think I just explained it," the Governor shot back.

It was really a simple yes or no question, is he cutting off money from the State for the streetcar?

Then finally, he gave this nugget.

"At this point it looks like it will not be coming," Kasich said.

The governor made several UC engineers day, by telling them he'd look for funding to back their projects.

He even went so far as to invite them to Columbus next week to the statehouse to show-off their inventions.

As for the streetcar, the debate on it's future is far from over.

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