On Wednesday City Council passed a motion to dedicate twenty five percent of the revenues from the Broadway Commons Casino to economic development activities including the operating funding for the Cincinnati Streetcar. This means general fund revenues will not be spent on building or operating the streetcar.
The rest of the Casino revenues will fund the Port Authority, infrastructure, and public art. Using a portion the proceeds from the Casino to operate the streetcar is a good use of civic funds because:
- The Streetcar Will Support the Casino– The Casino will not have an on-site hotel for the first several years of its operation. Broadway Commons will be competing with other casinos in Ohio and Indiana with on-site hotels. Downtown’s hotels are almost a mile and a half round trip from Broadway Commons, but with the streetcar, a visitor can park once at their hotel and take the streetcar to and from the Casino, making the whole visit more attractive. More visitors to the Casino means more revenue for use in all of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods. Additionally Downtown and Uptown workers can take the streetcar to the Casino to visit one of the bars and restaurants that will be at the Broadway Commons site for lunch or a happy hour.
- The Streetcar Will Help Downtown, Over-the-Rhine and Uptown– Not everyone visiting the Casino will be staying overnight. Many visitors will just drive in for the day. The streetcar will encourage day trippers to visit Downtown, Over-the-Rhine and Uptown rather than just drive in and drive out. Walking from the Casino to the shops and restaurants at the Banks is nearly two miles round trip, or visitors would have to pay for parking twice. But with the streetcar, someone going to the Casino could simply hop on the train and visit a variety of Cincinnati’s other great attractions like Findlay Market or the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. More activity in these areas will lead to new businesses and new jobs for Cincinnatians.
- The Streetcar Will Reduce Congestion– The Casino will attract an anticipated 6 million visitors per year. That’s 16,438 visitors a day—that’s the capacity of the Cintas Center, the Aronoff Center and Music Hall combined. The streetcar will reduce congestion by carrying well over 100 passengers in a single vehicle and allowing people to park off-site at hotels or in other lots and garages around the route. While Casino’s parking garage will only have about 4,000 parking spaces, the streetcar will allow visitors, especially after the work day and on the weekends, to make use of other spots along the line.
- The Streetcar Will Benefit the Residents Near the Casino– The people who live in all of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods and the entirety of Hamilton County will benefit from the new revenues created by the new Broadway Commons Casino, but only the residents of three neighborhoods, Downtown, Over-the-Rhine, and Pendleton, will have to deal side effects of the Casino, increased traffic, noise and activity, on a daily basis. Supporting the streetcar will be a trade off to these residents who will have to put up with more traffic and noise in their neighborhoods. There is a huge need for the streetcar in these neighborhoods where 48.2% of the residents don’t own an automobile. And the streetcar is a project these neighborhoods want and support. The Over-the-Rhine Community Council and the Downtown Residents Council have both endorsed the Cincinnati Streetcar.
The new Broadway Commons Casino and the Cincinnati Streetcar are two complimentary projects that will help our City move forward, create jobs and remain vibrant into the future. Support Cincinnati—Ride the Streetcar.