Ohio streetcar measure makes its way to the ballot
CINCINNATI, Ohio: This week, opponents of Mayor Mark Mallory and the City Council's plans to move forward with a streetcar project for the city of Cincinnati, announced that they have collected enough signatures to place the ballot measure on the November ballot. In order to get the measure on the ballot streetcar opponents are required to submit a minimum of 6,150 signatures of local registered voters. The measure, if approved as it is currently worded, would not only allow voters to voice their opinion on the currently proposed streetcar but states that any future Cincinnati rail projects must be approved by a majority vote of the public before the project can move forward. The city solicitor and council are expected to finalize the ballot language by September 2009.
Rail-line supporters argue that a streetcar would create jobs and promote economic progress within the city. However, in late June, they noted that the current dim local economic news will make the battle much more difficult. Councilman Chris Bortz, a streetcar proponent, said, "It's going to make it more difficult to explain to voters, to the city, why, especially at a time like this, a streetcar system is so important." But despite the economic hardship, ballot measure opponents said that the proposed ballot language will severely impact Cincinnati government as a whole and place the city at a disadvantage.