Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Good Compromise for Streetcar Bonds

I'm still lukewarm (at best) about the notion of a streetcar. Lots of smart people who I respect say it will spur investment and development. So maybe my doubts aren't reasonable. (But please, folks, quit telling me about Portland. I don't have any reason to believe that city is analogous to Cincinnati. I'm much more interested in the streetcar experiences of places like Kenosha.)

But if our policymakers are going to move forward with the streetcar, I think they've done so in a responsible, measured way. Today, Council approved the issuance of $64 million in bonds, but removed the "emergency" clause from the authorizing legislation. That means the ordinance isn't effective for 90 days, by which time the City will almost certainly know whether federal help is coming our way. If not, Council can rescind the ordinance before the bonds issue.

One other question: the price that's been quoted is a few years old now. Given increases in steel prices, is it still any good? Isn't this project's cost going up by the minute?

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