Candidates On: Issue 9 and Rail Spending

As part of CityBeat’s ongoing coverage of non-incumbent candidates for Cincinnati City Council, today we offer responses to another question from our recent questionnaire.

The question is, “Where do you stand on the charter amendment (Issue 9) that would impose restrictions on all rail-related spending by the city?”—-

Tony Fischer (Democrat): “I believe it is misguided and unfair. The federal government and Ohio Department of Transportation are prepared to spend over $600 million to add one lane of highway to a mere eight miles of I-75 and we don’t get to vote on that. If anyone thinks adding highway lanes in the middle of a city relieves congestion, just head down 75 and see how fast traffic moves on the 12-lane highway that cuts through the middle of Atlanta. Yet some folks here want us to hold up potential investment simply because the streetcars use rails instead of wheels.”

Nicholas Hollan (Democrat): “First and foremost, I am of the belief that rail transit is the way of the future for this country. Having traveled extensively abroad, I have experienced first-hand the ease and low cost of mass rail transit. We have the option as a city to either be on the cutting edge of the new transit medium or wait until others take the lead and simply fall into line with other reactive cities. 

“When given the option, I will always push for Cincinnati to be a proactive city on the cutting edge. This charter amendment is bigger than just the streetcar and puts all rail transit in jeopardy. Gov. Strickland has talked about a 3C corridor connecting Cincinnati to Columbus to Cleveland and President Obama has discussed regional transit with Cincinnati serving as a hub. I do not want Cincinnati to again pass the opportunity to lead the charge in rail transportation.”

Amy Murray (Republican): “I am against the restrictions imposed by Issue 9. My understanding is that the groups that put forth this initiative did so because they do not trust the decision-making ability of the current council on large fiscal issues. This is why I am running – you can trust me to make good, sound decisions. We must be able to trust the people that we elect to do what is right for the city. If not, we can make changes every two years by our vote.”

Laure Quinlivan (Democrat): “I am against it. Vote ‘no’ on Issue 9. This silly amendment will tie the hands of government leaders for years to come and ensure Cincinnati falls behind, as other cities progress.”

Bernadette Watson (Democrat): “I am not in favor of the current charter amendment that will slow/stagnate the progress of transportation issues in our city.”

George Zamary (Republican): “I oppose the charter amendment.”

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