From this week’s Soapbox:
Rail projects unite businesses, environmental activists and new urbanists around a smorgasbord of benefits:
- Urban rail, including both streetcars and suburban commuter lines, spur dramatic gains in property values and development
- Drawing cars and trucks off highways eases congestion, and thus the chronic cost of lost productivity and of fuel burnt by idling and slow-moving vehicles.
- Less congestion means cleaner air. Not only do fewer vehicles mean fewer emissions, but free-flowing traffic creates much less pollution than stop-and-go tie-ups.
- Putting more freight on trains would extend the life of highways by easing the amount of heavy-weight trucks they carry. That has long-term implications for critical roads like I-75, which is in the midst of an ambitious multi-state modernization project that encompasses the new Brent Spence Bridge.
- Trains mean fuel savings, which translate into lower costs and less demand for oil imports.
Read the rest here.
Yahoo Finance published a list of twenty ways people spend more money than they need to. Number 13:
13. Own an extra car. Okay, so a car is a necessity for most people. But face it — cars are a huge drain, from their loan payments to insurance fees to gas and maintenance costs. Own more than one car and you’ll double or triple those expenses. Ask yourself if that second or third car is really necessary. Are you holding on to an old car for sentimental reasons? Can you or your spouse carpool, take public transportation or bike to work?
Streetcars and other forms of public transportation can help people own fewer cars. AAA estimates the cost owning and operating a midsize sedan at $8,273 per year; much of that spending on automobiles leaves the local economy and goes to Detriot, Tokyo or oil producing countries.
Increased public transportation can help keep more of the spending at locally owned buisiness or invested into our neighbhorhoods, and for families on a tight budget not having an extra car or insurance payment can make a big impact on their fianances.
Two Columbus blogs consider the effects of the Anti-Passenger Rail Amendment on the rest of the State of Ohio:
This ballot measure has consequences for almost every citizen of the state because we would all benefit from the implementation and economic benefits of high-speed rail and the federal dollars that come with it. Even some media outlets in the city opposed to the streetcar line have also come out in opposition to the ballot petition for its ability to hamper development. This is something CBT will watch closely.
The Cincinnati Streetcar will not only serve 62,163 residents who live along the line, the employees that work in the City’s two largest employment centers (containing 54% of the jobs in the entire city), the 35,000 students of the University of Cincinnati, and the millions of visitors, hotel guests, and conventioneers that come to Downtown each year, it will also transport many of the 65,000 daily riders of Metro, the 15,000 daily riders of TANK, and the riders any future public transportation systems “the last mile” of their trip.
The streetcar will connect the existing subway tunnels that could carry light rail lines that will run parallel to I-75 and I-74, it will connect the Riverfront Transit Center, which would likely be the station for commuter rail to the east and west, I-71 light rail, and the light rail line to the airport, and with a short extension, the streetcar will also connect to high speed rail at Union Terminal. In addition, the streetcar extensions shown above will connect additional neighborhoods that contain 76,964 residents.
We might not know what public transportation upgrade will be next, but regardless of whether it is light rail, commuter rail, or upgraded bus service to Government Square, the streetcar will help these new systems operate more effectively and transport the riders the last few miles to their destination without having to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on expensive tunneling.
Over the next 30 years, rising oil prices and increasing congestion will likely make rail transportation a necessity in Cincinnati. Having the streetcar in place will connect the rail lines that serve Downtown with Northern Kentucky and Clifton, and the streetcar will increase economic development in the neighborhoods that it serves. More economic development in turn means more tax revenue and increased public services for all 52 of Cincinnati’s neighborhoods.
Previous generations of Cincinnatians have left future citizens their legacy in the fantastic park system, museums, and cultural assets, like Music Hall and the Krohn Conservatory. Lets have the one of the legacies of our generation be an improved transportation system that benefits the entire City. Support Cincinnati’s Future—Build the Streetcar.