League Opposes Anti-Streetcar Issue

Sep 12, 2011 at 11:59 am

A prominent, nonpartisan group today announced its opposition to Issue 48, the proposed amendment to Cincinnati's charter that would block the creation of a streetcar system for at least a decade.

The League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area issued a press release today stating it opposes the amendment because the wording is so broadly written that it would prevent the development of any passenger rail system including light rail or commuter rail.—-

Also, the League said the amendment would hamper economic development and unduly restrict City Council's legislative authority.

Here is the League's statement:

The amendment would prevent the City from spending or appropriating any money (including city, state, federal and private funds) to plan, construct, or operate a streetcar system through the year 2020. Because of the definition of a "Streetcar System," the amendment would include any kind of passenger rail operating on city streets or publicly-owned rights-of-way. The amendment would stop not just the streetcar. It would also block any regional passenger rail system (light rail or commuter rail) and would keep any rail transit from being planned or built in Cincinnati for the next decade.

The LWVCA seeks to keep open the city's transportation options as a means of contributing to the City's economic vitality and development. The proposed Charter Amendment, if passed, would put on hold the city and region's transportation options for the remainder of the decade and beyond.

In addition, the League opposes the proposed Charter Amendment because the
Charter should provide for the flexible operation of government. The Charter should not limit or restrict City Council's legislative authority as outlined in the Charter. "The proposed amendment is too specific for a Charter and too far reaching in its consequences for our city and region's transportation options," says Melissa Currence, President, League of Women Voters.

Issue 48 was pushed by groups opposed to Cincinnati's proposed streetcar system, primarily the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) and the NAACP's local chapter.

The League is a nonpartisan, grassroots political organization that works at the local, state, and national levels. Its mission is to encourage informed and active participation in government, along with working to increase understanding of major public policy issues and influencing public policy through education and advocacy.