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Another streetcar battle brewing?

 

Another streetcar fight could be brewing as city and transit authority officials try to determine the system's operator – an outside firm with experience running passenger trains or local union members who could be more expensive.

 

A decision about who will run Cincinnati's streetcar is due by July. Any length of time beyond that could delay the streetcar's September 2016 launch.

 

City Council must consider the cost – $4.2 million is the most it's willing to pay a year to run the system. But even that might not be enough to operate the streetcar, embroiled in controversy for years because of its costs.

 

Cont


"It's just fate, as usual, keeping its bargain and screwing us in the fine print..." - John Crichton

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I broke my, "no commenting on streetcar articles" rule and I regret it already.

 

What a crappy article. Trying to make a non-situation into a newsworthy situation.

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The Enquirer is so annoying with the Streetcar.  They had a horrible, horrible line in there something to this degree:

 

"The contingency fund is down to only $1.1 million with 18 months of construction ahead.  That amount is what would be left in the contingency fund in the worst case scenario."  :|

 

It makes me want to bang my head against my desk...

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The Enquirer is so annoying with the Streetcar.  They had a horrible, horrible line in there something to this degree:

 

"The contingency fund is down to only $1.1 million with 18 months of construction ahead.  That amount is what would be left in the contingency fund in the worst case scenario."  :|

 

It makes me want to bang my head against my desk...

 

“But the project's rainy-day fund is down to its last $1.1 million with still 1 1/2 years before the streetcar opens to passengers. That is how much money project leaders expect will be left over after construction is done in a worst-case scenario. Project leaders, however, warned they still could run into unexpected underground infrastructure while installing electric poles along the 3.6-mile route.”

 

I have yet to see a single Enquirer article that correctly explains what a contingency budget is. They either don’t understand themselves, or they are presenting it incorrectly. A contingency is set aside on essentially every construction project, big or small, to pay for unexpected discoveries during construction.

 

What they should be stating is that the contingency budget was originally X dollars, Y has been used so far, and Z is left. Instead, they state that there will be $1.1 million left at the end of the project if everything that could go wrong does, and they frame it in such a manner that makes it seem like a bad thing. If you’re in the green at all at the end of the project, let alone $1.1 million, you did a good job of estimating the contingency.

 

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It makes my blood boil how inept they are, either way.  How hard is it to write "In the worst case scenario, project leaders estimate $1.1 million will be left in the contingency fund by the time construction ends in 18 months."

 

I think you are right, they write it in a way that will get a bad reaction.  They simply can not be that moronic.

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They definitely write in a manner designed to confuse and cause arguments.

 

I really wish I hadn't commented. Steve Dieters is out in force again making sure to find the one tiny aspect of my statement he claims is "absolutely false" forcing me to explain in more detail what I meant by it and completely ignoring the ten other things stated that disprove him. That guy is a genius when it comes to shifting focus. He should be a politician.

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They definitely write in a manner designed to confuse and cause arguments.

 

I really wish I hadn't commented. Steve Dieters is out in force again making sure to find the one tiny aspect of my statement he claims is "absolutely false" forcing me to explain in more detail what I meant by it and completely ignoring the ten other things stated that disprove him. That guy is a genius when it comes to shifting focus. He should be a politician.

 

He is always harping on the taxing district but ignoring the current plans that will cover the costs which is parking and a portion of the property taxes are forgone on abatements to pay for it.  I believe that is around 7.5%.  Also another benefit to all these new buildings coming a long is even though a lot are abated, they are still giving 25% of their taxes to the Cincinnati School District, and I don't believe those are capped.

 

Property taxes are most definitely capped, so abating those properties in OTR and downtown for 12 years absolutely does not cost any other neighborhood in the city any more money, is that correct?  Because since property taxes are capped, other neighborhoods don't pay more to make up for it.  Once those abatements start running out, the rest of the city will pay less and less as more money is flowing from downtown and OTR.  Now that is a benefit to the whole city, no?  I wonder what his response to that would be?

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They are not in the business of spreading news.  They are in the business of making money.  And it shows.

 

The Enquirer is written and administered by house wives and for house wives at this point. 

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They definitely write in a manner designed to confuse and cause arguments.

 

I really wish I hadn't commented. Steve Dieters is out in force again making sure to find the one tiny aspect of my statement he claims is "absolutely false" forcing me to explain in more detail what I meant by it and completely ignoring the ten other things stated that disprove him. That guy is a genius when it comes to shifting focus. He should be a politician.

 

He is always harping on the taxing district but ignoring the current plans that will cover the costs which is parking and a portion of the property taxes are forgone on abatements to pay for it.  I believe that is around 7.5%.  Also another benefit to all these new buildings coming a long is even though a lot are abated, they are still giving 25% of their taxes to the Cincinnati School District, and I don't believe those are capped.

 

Property taxes are most definitely capped, so abating those properties in OTR and downtown for 12 years absolutely does not cost any other neighborhood in the city any more money, is that correct?  Because since property taxes are capped, other neighborhoods don't pay more to make up for it.  Once those abatements start running out, the rest of the city will pay less and less as more money is flowing from downtown and OTR.  Now that is a benefit to the whole city, no?  I wonder what his response to that would be?

 

Because of the property tax rollback, each individual abatement has no affect on the City's bottom line. The greatest benefit is the income taxes of the people living along the line and the jobs created along the line.

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I think the comment from Curt Parrott is more instructive of where the sensible middle 60% of the population lies. He says that he sees the growth along the route and can't believe that all of the income generated won't more than pay for itself. And he's a former critic. Our campaign to get out the facts regarding the economic impact is effectual. Nevermind the SD's of the world. They're never gonna change and we don't need them to.

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They definitely write in a manner designed to confuse and cause arguments.

 

I really wish I hadn't commented. Steve Dieters is out in force again making sure to find the one tiny aspect of my statement he claims is "absolutely false" forcing me to explain in more detail what I meant by it and completely ignoring the ten other things stated that disprove him. That guy is a genius when it comes to shifting focus. He should be a politician.

 

He is always harping on the taxing district but ignoring the current plans that will cover the costs which is parking and a portion of the property taxes are forgone on abatements to pay for it.  I believe that is around 7.5%.  Also another benefit to all these new buildings coming a long is even though a lot are abated, they are still giving 25% of their taxes to the Cincinnati School District, and I don't believe those are capped.

 

Property taxes are most definitely capped, so abating those properties in OTR and downtown for 12 years absolutely does not cost any other neighborhood in the city any more money, is that correct?  Because since property taxes are capped, other neighborhoods don't pay more to make up for it.  Once those abatements start running out, the rest of the city will pay less and less as more money is flowing from downtown and OTR.  Now that is a benefit to the whole city, no?  I wonder what his response to that would be?

 

The only healthy response to Steve Dieters is to have him change his diaper and get out of the house for a bit. He wrote the textbook for Concern Troll 101.

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Chris Wetterich @ChrisCinciBiz  ·  21m 21 minutes ago

Commentary: Cincinnati is dropping the ball on the next phase of the streetcar http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/blog/2015/03/commentary-city-dropping-the-ball-on-next-phase-of.html?ana=twt&page=all


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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They definitely write in a manner designed to confuse and cause arguments.

 

I really wish I hadn't commented. Steve Dieters is out in force again making sure to find the one tiny aspect of my statement he claims is "absolutely false" forcing me to explain in more detail what I meant by it and completely ignoring the ten other things stated that disprove him. That guy is a genius when it comes to shifting focus. He should be a politician.

 

He is always harping on the taxing district but ignoring the current plans that will cover the costs which is parking and a portion of the property taxes are forgone on abatements to pay for it.  I believe that is around 7.5%.  Also another benefit to all these new buildings coming a long is even though a lot are abated, they are still giving 25% of their taxes to the Cincinnati School District, and I don't believe those are capped.

 

Property taxes are most definitely capped, so abating those properties in OTR and downtown for 12 years absolutely does not cost any other neighborhood in the city any more money, is that correct?  Because since property taxes are capped, other neighborhoods don't pay more to make up for it.  Once those abatements start running out, the rest of the city will pay less and less as more money is flowing from downtown and OTR.  Now that is a benefit to the whole city, no?  I wonder what his response to that would be?

 

Because of the property tax rollback, each individual abatement has no affect on the City's bottom line. The greatest benefit is the income taxes of the people living along the line and the jobs created along the line.

 

I think supporters can hang their hat more on this with the fiercer opponents who dig down to the abatements, like Mr. Dieters on cincinnat.com.  He says something a long the lines of "Cost of abatements, Washington Park..., keep in mind I said COST."  How is it a cost if it isn't taking a dime away from the city.  That makes absolutely no sense at all.  And what does a public park have anything to do with the streetcar?  Do proponents actually tout Washington Park as development spurred by the streetcar?  I have never heard that once in my life.

 

Keep in mind, revenue that never existed with future revenues generated being abated by the city is not a "cost" to the city.  I think I am going to work on a project of my own with a spreadsheet, etc. to show development dollars spent within two blocks of the streetcar line, 2 years before it was announced, the years it was in limbo, and the 1.2 years or so since it was a full go.  I guarantee development has kicked up a lot since the final nail in COAST's coffin was nailed in December of 2013, probably close to 50% or more compared to the years before.

 

Then, there are economic models and money multiplier effects which are very much statistically true which show the economic impact as a function of wages and other items.

 

The key here is, showing the increase in in spending since the streetcar was announced full go compared to years past and years in limbo.  Then people can't come and say, oh well it would have happened anyways.  Well, they could say that, but they will look dumber and dumber for it. 

 

Once the data is all in place, we can just add as we go and we can all get a PhD. in Economics from UC for the thesis  8-) :-D

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Steve Deiters should be running a lemonade stand -- you know, where you buy powdered mix and blend it with water and ice as it is needed, where everyone pays in cash and doesn't get any lemonade if he doesn't, where you charge more than it costs to make the lemonade, and raise your price if business is good and lower it if it's bad. If it rains, you don' t make lemonade that day. When summer's over, you go back to school.

 

That's an enterprise that is equal to Deiter's financial sophistication.

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My major frustration is his inability to understand the difference between a budget estimate and an actual construction budget. Estimates are great and all for gauging a project's costs, but are meaningless in the end when a real bid based on real designs based on real conditions is settled upon. He keeps going back to the original estimates to insist the project has, "been over budget since day 1 by 22 million."

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One of the very first things I ever read on the internet in 1997 or 1998 was a detailed article panning the western expansion of the Portland MAX light rail system (hardly anything on the subject was posted online at that time).  It caused me to remain skeptical of the light rail mode for several years.  At some point I ran across the article again in 2001 or 2002 (probably when he chimed in in opposition to our Metro Moves plan) and it turned out it had been written by Randall O'Toole.  I had been fooled at age 19 or 20 by that notorious Koch bros lackey. 

 

Now I spot those kinds of phony arguments, no matter the subject, in an instant.  But people like Steve Dieters and this metro's legions of 700 WLW listeners are deep into adulthood and keep getting tricked over and over again by the same old techniques.  When you point them toward the facts, they entrench themselves even deeper into their false beliefs. 

 

 

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^ That's very logical, especially with respect to the streetcar. The opponents are into twenty-mile commutes to homogenous neighborhoods, driving two miles for a half-gallon of milk or a loaf of bread. They're heavily invested in big yards, a fleet of cars and the ritual of caring for them. And they're often mortgaged to the hilt and many owe more than the properties are worth.

 

So when somone gets on Cincinnati.com and talks the merits of a car-light or car-free lifestyle, walking to work, renting a nice place that you can walk away from if the perfect job in Austin comes along, carefree Saturdays and Sundays to do what ever you want instead of being a farmer and having enough disposable income to eat out a lot and travel. When your typical road warrior reads or  hears that, he just wants to burrow-in and batten-down the hatches against a future which, at some level, he propbably no longer believes in or can get out of. I think there's a fair amount of jealousy involved. And a salve for jealousy is to belittle what you know you can't have. Or at least can't have easily. Be happy you're not one of them.

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It's also about being proven wrong. Some people so invested in their lifestyle that acknowledging another lifestyle has some merit for other people means having to admit their absolutism was the wrong attack. And some people would rather fall on their own swords and die than admit they were wrong.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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^ That's very logical, especially with respect to the streetcar. The opponents are into twenty-mile commutes to homogenous neighborhoods, driving two miles for a half-gallon of milk or a loaf of bread. They're heavily invested in big yards, a fleet of cars and the ritual of caring for them. And they're often mortgaged to the hilt and many owe more than the properties are worth.

 

So when somone gets on Cincinnati.com and talks the merits of a car-light or car-free lifestyle, walking to work, renting a nice place that you can walk away from if the perfect job in Austin comes along, carefree Saturdays and Sundays to do what ever you want instead of being a farmer and having enough disposable income to eat out a lot and travel. When your typical road warrior reads or  hears that, he just wants to burrow-in and batten-down the hatches against a future which, at some level, he propbably no longer believes in or can get out of. I think there's a fair amount of jealousy involved. And a salve for jealousy is to belittle what you know you can't have. Or at least can't have easily. Be happy you're not one of them.

 

I believe this is also the root of the "if you want transit, take the bus" argument. I rarely sense that people who say this are genuinely suggesting that someone take the bus if they want to loosen the reins of car living. "Take the bus" comes off as a challenge to do something distasteful and degrading; a penance to be paid for veering outside of the suburban lifestyle. It also speaks to the financial criticism of rail transit as an expensive toy: it's hard to endorse rail at any cost when you think urban living doesn't have value.

 

 

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Seelbach on twitter:

Working on motion directing City Administration to study ways to fund phase 1b of the @Cincy_Streetcar project. Lets see our options.

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They definitely write in a manner designed to confuse and cause arguments.

 

I really wish I hadn't commented. Steve Dieters is out in force again making sure to find the one tiny aspect of my statement he claims is "absolutely false" forcing me to explain in more detail what I meant by it and completely ignoring the ten other things stated that disprove him. That guy is a genius when it comes to shifting focus. He should be a politician.

 

IKWYM, although I wouldn't characterize him as a genius!  He's a sophist.  I finally realized that it only serves to edify his ego by engaging in dialogue with him.  Who the eff is he anyway?  He's a nobody, and only one of maybe 3 or so opponents who bother commenting anymore on The Enquirer's purposefully-inflammatory, hit-seeking streetcar articles.  Streetcar supporters are the ones giving the paper the hits they crave -- there aren't enough opponents who still care enough to argue about it.

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^ That's very logical, especially with respect to the streetcar. The opponents are into twenty-mile commutes to homogenous neighborhoods, driving two miles for a half-gallon of milk or a loaf of bread. They're heavily invested in big yards, a fleet of cars and the ritual of caring for them. And they're often mortgaged to the hilt and many owe more than the properties are worth.

 

So when somone gets on Cincinnati.com and talks the merits of a car-light or car-free lifestyle, walking to work, renting a nice place that you can walk away from if the perfect job in Austin comes along, carefree Saturdays and Sundays to do what ever you want instead of being a farmer and having enough disposable income to eat out a lot and travel. When your typical road warrior reads or  hears that, he just wants to burrow-in and batten-down the hatches against a future which, at some level, he propbably no longer believes in or can get out of. I think there's a fair amount of jealousy involved. And a salve for jealousy is to belittle what you know you can't have. Or at least can't have easily. Be happy you're not one of them.

 

Just because their lifestyle doesn't appeal to us, and some of them oppose the streetcar, I wouldn't presume they're necessarily leading lives of quiet desperation and harbor secret envy of urbanists.  I could believe they're jealous of the money that's spent on transit and would want it spent on road repairs instead.  Besides, there seem to be plenty of streetcar opponents living in neighborhoods like Hyde Park.  They're not all in exurbia.

 

The more the merrier but I'm glad not everybody wants to live in the urban core.  To each his own. 

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Although he may have legitimate arguments as a lot of opponents do, he mostly harps on costs.  It is like an old girlfriend who brings up past arguments.  As long as this project is under construction and running, there are going to be people who complain.  I would love to hear people complain about other things.

 

In my own mind and I believe in almost all supporters minds, people know that the streetcar is one of the best keys to accelerating redevelopment in downtown and Over the Rhine.  Development at a faster rate puts more money in the coffers now, more jobs for construction workers with many of them most likely local, more activity on the streets which decreases crime, etc.

 

An interesting study would be measuring the amount of police on the beat at any given time in OTR.  Just throwing numbers but if that number halved, from say 50 to 25 police officers, if arrests are down, murders, robberies, etc., there is a very real cost savings to that as well.  You could probably make a pretty neat study on all the variables.  Then you put the streetcar in December 2013 through the present, and measure against past data over the same, say 1.5 year increments, and I am sure it would show good improvements.

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I blocked SD on FB some time ago so I never even see his comments. I finally did this after inviting him down for lunch and beers on me to personally tour the route. He declined several times. That's all you need to know. I would say block and of more would be the best way of marginalizing.

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The mayor's Communications Director (?) still rooting for the streetcar's failure:

 

Gotta start beating those negativity drums again with Seelbach's effort to focus on Phase 1b ramping up.

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CBRE's 2015 Market Outlook for Cincinnati:

 

"Downtown’s recent growth is phenomenal, investment is increasing and the anticipation of the streetcar has increased development along its route. The live, work and play dynamic is accelerating and transforming our city in to a 24-hour walkable urban environment"

 

http://www.cbre.us/o/cincinnati/real-estate-news/Pages/CBRE-Announces-2015-Market-Outlook-for-Greater-Cincinnati.aspx

 

 

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The mayor's Communications Director (?) still rooting for the streetcar's failure:

 

The new transpo guy in the referenced article reeks of someone who is fundamentally skeptical of their project. It illustrates the idea that if you want something to fail, it will. That can be applied to so many things in life.

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I feel in terms of fulfilling the needs of residents, this is a stopgap measure. In order to relieve the need for parking for more and more people as the population increases and more businesses open, the best solution is to continue to expand the streetcar into a light rail tram system, increasing the ability of people to park elsewhere and ride the tram in, or get rid of the need for cars in the area.

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The mayor's Communications Director (?) still rooting for the streetcar's failure:

 

I'm not surprised at all by this post.  I was expecting more people to jump on this situation. 

 

That said, DC needs to stop ruining things for the rest of us.  Just because they're completely incapable of operating a transit system doesn't mean the rest of the country is as inept.  I'm completely livid about their entire sad state of affairs.  How the heck do you screw up a streetcar project THAT much!?!

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Should streetcar operator details be public?

 

As Cincinnati City Council prepares to pick the company that will operate the streetcar, Councilman David Mann is demanding transparency – which is lacking right now.

 

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, which is in charge of running the streetcar, will score applicants on four criteria: price, quality of the applicant, staffing and technical quality. But instead of presenting all the information to Cincinnati City Council – which is tasked with choosing the company – the SORTA plans only to present the two highest scoring applicants and the cost.

 

"I reject the appropriateness of this kind of secrecy when an elected body exercises its oversight responsibilities," Mann wrote in a statement attached the motion. "Nor can it be defended when such enormous levels of public funds are being spent. Early attention and a report by the administration is vital."

 

Cont


"It's just fate, as usual, keeping its bargain and screwing us in the fine print..." - John Crichton

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All Aboard Ohio ‏@AllAboardOhio  11s11 seconds ago

Cincinnati Council majority urge city's staff to ID all $$ for planning, construction of Uptown #streetcar extension

11069374_10153081864558559_7439306795526530060_n.jpg?oh=f35e38419809a5f0f6865fd6074bfd9b&oe=55B9BE5B&__gda__=1434128290_64517fdb463872175b9bc298182d4e89


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Is the $54 million the state pulled enough to finish the uptown segment? IS it true there is an underground  water main and electrical system under  vine street that will cost $100 million alone to move?

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Is the $54 million the state pulled enough to finish the uptown segment? IS it true there is an underground  water main and electrical system under  vine street that will cost $100 million alone to move?

 

^ I hope so, because it's crummy alignment.

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