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On ‎10‎/‎16‎/‎2019 at 11:28 PM, ucnum1 said:

That was mostly a ousted ex counry commissioner Chris Monzel's doing.Coast consists of a few fat lawyers who sue the city too fund thier law firm.

But they also know how to get a petition certified too.

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15 hours ago, jjakucyk said:

While biking around the city today (Hyde Park, Mt. Lookout, Columbia-Tusculum, Madisonville, Oakley, Bond Hill, Spring Grove Avenue, Queensgate, Downtown, East End) I noticed a LOT of "This bus stop under consideration for removal" signs.  There had to be at least 20 that caught my eye, and I wasn't really looking for them either.  I'm wondering what the push for that is.  If they're infrequently used stops, they wouldn't be impacting schedule speed much.  Yes there's generally too many stops in too short a distance, and it can be annoying when someone pulls the cord for the very next stop just a half block away, but does that really happen much, especially on some of these less-used routes?  That should only really impact the heavy-haul lines, and even then the higher frequency of buses reduces the number of stops per bus.  I also don't see it being a cost-cutting maneuver since these stops don't have any infrastructure, just a sign and maybe a sidewalk extension.  There's no benches or shelters or anything else besides the sign that's under Metro's purview to maintain.  

 

11 hours ago, Traveler Joe said:

I'm curious as well. If it results in increased frequency I'm ok with it. If it just ends up with the bus driver taking a break because he's running faster than scheduled than I'm not.

 

 

This is part of Metro's FAStop project. More information below:

 

https://www.go-metro.com/fastops 


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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I wish some of the stops along Vine St (just south of McMillan) would be consolidated. They have 4 stops northbound and 4 stops southbound within less than a quarter mile. I know on hills that it's sometimes necessary to have more stops since it's tough for folks to walk. But I think these 4 stops could be consolidated down to two. Unfortunately, the website indicates that all of these stops are going to be kept. 

 

image.thumb.png.7a1f5a101f56b2a36732a5018979eac5.png

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According to that map, the 17 soutbound stop at Warner and Clifton is slated for removal. Not only does that seem weird because it's a fairly major intersection, but they also just installed a new bench there. And selfishly I'm annoyed because that's the closest stop to my house, and really the closest stop to a big porttion of western CUF, which already has terrible access as it is. 

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Yeah I did. That stop doesn't seem to show up in their Word doc listing all the Phase III removals, so hopefully the map is wrong.

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If it were up to me, I would hold off on removing stops on hillsides. Wait until things are ironed out with other stops that are less likely to cause major hardship for people with mobility challenges. No matter how much outreach they try to do, there are going to be people taken off-guard by the removals.

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Is DOTE coordinating with any of this, I wonder if these locations will be left as loading zones or returned to street parking (where applicable).

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I know it is somewhat controversial but the FAStops initiative is something that Metro absolutely needs to be doing. In order for Metro to evolve beyond what it is now and become something that more people choose to use, they need to focus on speeding up buses by removing redundant stops, and improve the remaining stops with better seating, lighting, shelters, signage, maps, real-time arrival information, TVMs, etc.

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20 minutes ago, taestell said:

I know it is somewhat controversial but the FAStops initiative is something that Metro absolutely needs to be doing. In order for Metro to evolve beyond what it is now and become something that more people choose to use, they need to focus on speeding up buses by removing redundant stops, and improve the remaining stops with better seating, lighting, shelters, signage, maps, real-time arrival information, TVMs, etc.

 

Couldn't agree more. It's astounding just how many stops each route has. When I was a regular 11 rider, it felt like the bus was stopping at almost every block between Downtown, WH, and Oakley. On days where I'd ride my bike (from WH towards Oakley, mostly downhill), I could easily compete with the bus (at rush hours, not at off-peak times).

Edited by Gordon Bombay
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The video on Metro's site is pretty cringey I have to say.  It's way too cheery in a 1990s way, and rather condescending too, especially the live action part.  Not that I don't agree with the premise, but that's not a good way to get the message across. 

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Cranley's cockamamie bus tax scheme is now in full effect:

https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2019/10/29/cincinnati-taxes-what-issue-22-repeal-means/4053465002/

 

There is absolutely no real-world reason for this tax shift.  Companies will not suddenly flood DT Cincinnati office space with the earnings tax reduced from 2.1% to 1.8%.  Meanwhile, the sales tax does not raise enough money to significantly improve bus service. 

 

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5 hours ago, jmecklenborg said:

Cranley's cockamamie bus tax scheme is now in full effect:

https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2019/10/29/cincinnati-taxes-what-issue-22-repeal-means/4053465002/

 

There is absolutely no real-world reason for this tax shift.  Companies will not suddenly flood DT Cincinnati office space with the earnings tax reduced from 2.1% to 1.8%.  Meanwhile, the sales tax does not raise enough money to significantly improve bus service. 

 

The idea behind it is to create fairness for the suburban workers who don't use the bus system but fund it with their earnings tax. In return, it will get them to support the sales tax, which is a more fair way to pay for a countywide bus system. Wouldn't you agree that part of the reason why the bus system sucks is because of how it is funded does not allow for things to be expanded easily? If you can change the funding mechanism, short term it may not do much but long term it opens a lot more options.

Edited by Brutus_buckeye

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6 hours ago, jmecklenborg said:

Meanwhile, the sales tax does not raise enough money to significantly improve bus service. 

 

 

Yea, well, that's like, your opinion man. 

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It really doesn't, though. SORTA repeatedly told us that they needed 0.9% in order to get meaningful improvements like BRT:

 

On 4/9/2019 at 4:41 PM, taestell said:

According to the Reinventing Metro plan, 0.7% isn't enough to fund any BRT, while 0.9% is enough to fund 4 "BRT corridors" if we get an 80% federal match.

576534992017.jpeg

 

The sales tax being proposed would only give about 0.6% to Metro.

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3 minutes ago, taestell said:

It really doesn't, though. SORTA repeatedly told us that they needed 0.9% in order to get meaningful improvements like BRT:

 

 

The sales tax being proposed would only give about 0.6% to Metro.

 

SORTA already made it clear that they now believe the amount they are proposing is enough to get the plan done. Those projections in the Reinventing Metro plan are now outdated. The 0.6% to Metro is enough to get 2 of the BRT lines started with the others slated for the future. The only way this region is EVER going to get BRT in any form is if we count on an 80% federal match, so that part is not surprising. But there's no reason to believe they won't get the 80% match. It might take a few years but, in the long run, the funding will be there. 

 

This plan is not going to give us all a completely revamped bus system over night. It will take many years to implement all of the changes, especially the full BRT plan. But we keep not doing stuff because of some hypothetical world where we could be doing something more. We have to live in reality. And in reality, this is a good step forward for the region's public transit system.

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1 hour ago, Brutus_buckeye said:

The idea behind it is to create fairness for the suburban workers who don't use the bus system but fund it with their earnings tax. In return, it will get them to support the sales tax, which is a more fair way to pay for a countywide bus system.

 

Most people in that situation are commuting to Downtown or Uptown. Without Metro, the congestion in those areas would be beyond ridiculous. These people 100% benefit from funding the bus network. People who live and work outside the city would be paying into the system with the tax switch. I doubt people in that situation consider this to be more "fair".

 

Quote

Wouldn't you agree that part of the reason why the bus system sucks is because of how it is funded does not allow for things to be expanded easily?

 

The amount of funds available wouldn't change much with the sales tax + repeal scheme, yet there would be more pressure to increase coverage throughout the county. Pressure for more coverage is the same as pressure for less frequency. In order for this plan to help, there would have to be enough of an increase in funding to offset the spreading-too-thin risk created by increased coverage. There isn't enough of an increase to do that. In the current state of Metro, increased frequency should be a higher priority than increased coverage in most cases.

 

Quote

If you can change the funding mechanism, short term it may not do much but long term it opens a lot more options.

 

This would be better achieved by adding the sales tax but also keeping the earnings tax.

Edited by Robuu

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10 minutes ago, DEPACincy said:

SORTA already made it clear that they now believe the amount they are proposing is enough to get the plan done. Those projections in the Reinventing Metro plan are now outdated.

 

That's because they threw out thew out the more realistic projections and are now basing their plan on overly-optimistic projections.

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3 minutes ago, taestell said:

 

That's because they threw out thew out the more realistic projections and are now basing their plan on overly-optimistic projections.

 

This modest sales tax increase will TOTALLY cover the stadium bonds. HONEST.

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9 minutes ago, Robuu said:

The amount of funds available wouldn't change much with the sales tax + repeal scheme, yet there would be more pressure to increase coverage throughout the county. Pressure for more coverage is the same as pressure for less frequency. In order for this plan to help, there would have to be enough of an increase in funding to offset the spreading-too-thin risk created by increased coverage. There isn't enough of an increase to do that. In the current state of Metro, increased frequency should be a higher priority than increased coverage in most cases.

This would be better achieved by adding the sales tax but also keeping the earnings tax.

When you increase the coverage and make it available and an option for more people it touches them directly. People will see the benefit of bus service and be willing to invest in more frequency, etc. When you have a system that only touches 25% of the county residents, the other 75% does not see a benefit and hence they don't buy in. You need to create service that touches everyone. look at the vitriol over the streetcar. The biggest complaint was how much it cost and how few people directly benefitted from it. People in Cheviot  could not regularly benefit from the Streetcar. They did not have a buy in. Yes, the frequency may not be there initially, but you got to give people a tangible benefit in access to see what it can be in order to get more to buy in.  

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Both coverage and frequency are important, but Metro actually has fairly decent coverage in the county, to the extent that if you prioritize living near a bus line you can live in almost any community and have that option. But having a bus go by your house that only comes by every hour or two and less on weekends is not very enticing to anyone who can afford another option. Increasing pressure for coverage means pressure for bus lines like that, at the expense of frequency on lines people actually use.

 

There would need to be an astronomical boost in funding to provide service in areas that aren't already covered which would pique the interest of anyone who isn't currently interested in riding the bus.

 

People from Cheviot hating the streetcar despite its existence being free for them is a good indicator that most streetcar opposition is not actually about anything the streetcar does or doesn't do.

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The current sales tax going to Hamilton County is 1.25%.  .5% is the sales tax that has existed for 50+ years, another .5% is the stadium debt which has been in effect since 1996, and .25% is the temporary Union Terminal fund.  The state sales tax also went up .25% in 2013 when Kasich eliminated the state inheritance tax.  

 

With Hamilton County trying to make the .25% Union Terminal Tax permanent to cover the loss of Local Government Funds, and Kasich having already raised the state sales tax .25% to cover the loss of income to the state, we're facing a .5% sales tax increase in Hamilton County just to make up for Kasich's tax cuts to the rich.   

 

Now comes Cranley's plot to shift metro from the city earnings tax to yet another county sales tax increase.  So another .08 on top of the .25 on top of the .25.  So roughly the same revenue level as before, but shifted from progressive to regressive taxes.   

 

"Low Taxes" are almost always a tax shift from progressive taxes to a regressive tax structure, especially sales taxes.  Luckily we do not tax groceries in Ohio, unlike several "low tax" states.  

 

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Metro currently brings in about $53 million from the city earnings tax.  A .06% sales tax would bring in about $95 million.  So would raising the city earnings tax from 2.1% to 2.3%.  Columbus, Cleveland, and ALL of the NKY cities levee a 2.5% earnings tax.  And none of those earnings taxes pay for bus service in any of those cities.  

 

It keeps coming back to the fact that sales taxes are regressive and earnings taxes are progressive.  

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According to this slide from the September Re-inventing Metro SORTA packet, they were anticipating a .07% sales tax which has now gone down to .06%. The problem is that I think there is still assumptions that this will be the revenue forecast. 

 

1275166771_ScreenShot2019-10-29at1_12_31PM.thumb.png.008fbc6aa49dabe2a036993e43bf03d0.png


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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^Keep in mind that there is no specific plan for what "infrastructure" will be funded with the remainder of the .08% tax.  If current trends continue, it will be parking garages.  

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So what's the voting strategy on this for next week?  Vote yes now and the sales tax vote in 2020 could fail, leaving Metro with peanuts?  Vote no now and nothing changes since the sales tax increase is contingent on this passing? 

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18 minutes ago, jmecklenborg said:

^Keep in mind that there is no specific plan for what "infrastructure" will be funded with the remainder of the .08% tax.  If current trends continue, it will be parking garages.  

The "road infrastructure" portion of the tax will be handled by the local branch district of the Ohio Public Works Commission.

 

The people on this board:

https://www.pwc.ohio.gov/District/DistrictMembers/DistrictTwoMembers

 

 

On page 5 of this document, the process for the transit levy and the roads fund allocations are spelled out as per the enabling legislation passed earlier this year:

https://ccao.org/wp-content/uploads/CAB2019-04-07-25-19.pdf

 

If the county sales tax passes, Metro would have to submit road infrastructure investments to the OPWC District 2 and will need at least 6 (out of 9) votes to move a project forward.

 

I'm pretty sure the Western Hills Viaduct will be the first big project they try to push with this fund. I am concerned about the next funding asks.

 

Infrastructure upgrades on roads to create safer streets for everything that's not a car and transit infrastructure improvements is what should be funded. But with current leadership calling the shots, I can see this funding being used to widen roads for more cars with some transit thrown in for cover.


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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23 minutes ago, jjakucyk said:

So what's the voting strategy on this for next week?  Vote yes now and the sales tax vote in 2020 could fail, leaving Metro with peanuts?  Vote no now and nothing changes since the sales tax increase is contingent on this passing? 


If the issue next week passes nothing happens unless the sales tax passes.

 

If the issue next week fails, I imagine the sales tax proposal is nixed. But I don't know for sure.

 

If this passes and the sales tax fails, it's business as usual for Metro.

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19 minutes ago, jjakucyk said:

the sales tax increase is contingent on this passing

This is an assumption people are making, but the only actual evidence I see for it is that the narrative could be self-fulfilling. Interesting but unanswerable questions:

 

(1) If there never were an Issue 22, how much more or less likely would it be that the sales tax passes, versus

(2) If 22 passes, how much more or less likely would it be that the sales tax passes, versus

(3) If 22 fails, how much more or less likely would it be that the sales tax passes?

 

I'm not convinced that the probability of the sales tax passing in scenario (3) would be substantially lower than the probability it passes in scenario (2). And I suspect the probability of it passing in scenario (1) would have been higher than in scenario (2), just by virtue of drawing everything out and making it more confusing.

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6 minutes ago, Robuu said:

This is an assumption people are making, but the only actual evidence I see for it is that the narrative could be self-fulfilling. Interesting but unanswerable questions:

 

(1) If there never were an Issue 22, how much more or less likely would it be that the sales tax passes, versus

(2) If 22 passes, how much more or less likely would it be that the sales tax passes, versus

(3) If 22 fails, how much more or less likely would it be that the sales tax passes?

 

I'm not convinced that the probability of the sales tax passing in scenario (3) would be substantially lower than the probability it passes in scenario (2). And I suspect the probability of it passing in scenario (1) would have been higher than in scenario (2), just by virtue of drawing everything out and making it more confusing.

 

This is language from Article 8, Section 6c of the Cincinnati City Charter:

 

"In the event that at the general election on November 6, 1979, the electors of the county of Hamilton, state of Ohio approve the levy of a 1% sales and use tax to provide general revenues for the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, so long as such levy or successor levies to it remain in effect the three-tenths of one percent (.3%) earned income tax levied for public transit purposes generally shall not be levied. If the sales and use tax levy is approved, the levy of the .3% earnings tax shall be discontinued as of the first day following the certification of the election result by the Hamilton County Board of Elections."

 

There is already authority to eliminate the earnings tax in the event of a sales tax passing but it looks like it has to be 1% or more.


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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3 minutes ago, JYP said:

 

This is language from Article 8, Section 6c of the Cincinnati City Charter:

 

"In the event that at the general election on November 6, 1979, the electors of the county of Hamilton, state of Ohio approve the levy of a 1% sales and use tax to provide general revenues for the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, so long as such levy or successor levies to it remain in effect the three-tenths of one percent (.3%) earned income tax levied for public transit purposes generally shall not be levied. If the sales and use tax levy is approved, the levy of the .3% earnings tax shall be discontinued as of the first day following the certification of the election result by the Hamilton County Board of Elections."

 

There is already authority to eliminate the earnings tax in the event of a sales tax passing but it looks like it has to be 1% or more.

 

Ugh, that is really frustrating. So the whole Issue 22 dog & pony show could have been skipped, with all the potential benefits of Issue 22 passing, if they'd just gone with a 1% sales tax. In my opinion, going for anything lower than 1% is a mistake, because psychologically there isn't really a line between "I support bus service enough for a 0.8% sales tax increase" and "I support bus service enough for a 1% sales tax increase". I guess they are adding in all the complications in order to get certain groups to endorse the measure. But I don't believe endorsements are going to really move the needle, especially since no matter what is arrived at the opposition will be the exact same (COAST's talking points do not shift with facts or details). So I think the winning strategy is 1) Keep It Simple, Stupid and 2) ask for enough that you can present a plan with enough signature improvements that people are excited for it (this creates free word-of-mouth/social media advertising).

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1 hour ago, jjakucyk said:

 Vote no now and nothing changes since the sales tax increase is contingent on this passing? 

 

No.  Cranley will be gone soon.  This would be a political win for him and a loss for the community, as is any Cranley "win".  

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The problem with this entire discussion is that the way it is being done is the way it is being done and we can't change that now. SORTA wasn't going to ever go for a 1% increase because they didn't think it would pass. Whether we think it would have is irrelevant. And now, if 22 doesn't pass there is no way SORTA will go for the sales tax. 

 

So our ACTUAL, no hypothetical, options are:

 

1. Pass 22 and the sales tax and SORTA gets more money, while most of us who post here would get a tax cut. 

 

2. Vote against 22 and SORTA does not go for the sales tax, and instead we all get to watch the bus system begin to be dismantled. 

 

And in reality, it is pretty likely that 22 passes in the city, so then our options next year will be:

 

1. Pass the sales tax and take the tax cut while giving SORTA more money to improve the system. 

 

2. Vote against the sales tax (see #2 above).

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54 minutes ago, DEPACincy said:

if 22 doesn't pass there is no way SORTA will go for the sales tax.

 

Source? I haven't heard that.

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2 hours ago, JYP said:

There is already authority to eliminate the earnings tax in the event of a sales tax passing but it looks like it has to be 1% or more.

 

This was in anticipation of the two SORTA sales taxes that both failed at that ballot.  I think they were in 1980 and 1981.  You can thank the likes of Ken Blackwell for poisoning that well.  

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Robuu said:

 

Source? I haven't heard that.

 

Well, considering the fact that the SORTA board is now stacked with Cranley appointees, well that explains how his grand plan to eliminate the progressive SORTA earnings tax and replace it with a regressive sales tax, which dates back to his entry into local politics in 2001 at age 26 (HE WAS ON MTV!!!), finally comes to pass.  

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, DEPACincy said:

 

I've said all I can say 🙊

 

If it's true, they should say it out loud...I mean there's a week before the election and it would certainly be a salient fact for voters.

 

Edit: I'm not a Cincinnati voter, but if I were I would vote against 22. If the SORTA board said it was going to withdraw the bus tax levy, I'd probably vote the other way.

Edited by Robuu

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1 hour ago, Robuu said:

 

If it's true, they should say it out loud...I mean there's a week before the election and it would certainly be a salient fact for voters.

 

Edit: I'm not a Cincinnati voter, but if I were I would vote against 22. If the SORTA board said it was going to withdraw the bus tax levy, I'd probably vote the other way.

I have no insider information, but the backers would look at a loss of Issue 22 within city limits and say "if we can't win a pro-transit election in the city, there's no way we're going to win in the county so why even try"

 

Issue 22 (and the subsequent sales tax) mean more revenue for SORTA than the present arrangement, so I'm voting yes. 

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