Colin Groth is president of the Charter Committee of Greater Cincinnati.
We are disappointed with the process and tone out of city hall the past ten days on a variety of issues including but not limited to the streetcar. Under the current system, the mayor and council act as a board of directors and the administration acts as the professional management. However, the process the past ten days has not been representative of that system.
Now that the streetcar project has been paused, we see it as an opportunity to build consensus from public and private partners on a solution-oriented approach to this critical issue.
Council and the mayor have questioned the accuracy of the administration’s estimates to complete vs. cancel the project. Therefore, the audit should be conducted free from undue influence by the city council or mayor. Should the independent audit confirm the numbers put forward by the city administration, we believe that council should move forward in all haste to resume construction and complete the project.
Additionally, should private partners be willing to help the city make the project financially feasible, we fully expect council to work open-mindedly with these individuals and organizations to find solutions.
Finally, all reasonable options should be considered to secure the necessary funds to operate the completed system including private funding, innovative financing, and a study of projected revenue from property tax from new development that will occur along the route.
We believe that should these numbers be confirmed, the completion of the project will bring a tangible economic benefit that far outweighs the costs of cancellation and that cancelation will be a serious financial burden on the city for years to come.
We believe that this is the fiscally responsible path to follow and encourage council to view this project in terms of making a decision that benefits the city long-term.
-Colin Groth, President of the Charter Commitee of Greater Cincinnati