As City Council prepares to make a crucial vote on whether to “pause” or continue the streetcar project, designer Giacomo Ciminello compiled a visual of the costs for both pausing and continuing with the project. The initial estimate shows a $400,000 difference between the two options. However with one option, $147 million will result in a streetcar and the other option would leave taxpayers footing a $147 million cancellation bill to have nothing built.
Council argues the $3-4 million annual operating costs of the streetcar rationalize their decision to spend the same amount of money to cancel the streetcar than to complete it, as they would be saving money in the long run. Earlier this week, project executives explained many options to pay for operating costs which would remove the burden from the city budget, and even allow the streetcar to operate “in the black,” turning a profit.
The vote on “pausing” the streetcar will not only define Cincinnati’s view on progress, but also on fiscal responsibility.