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Smart Voter
Hamilton County, OH November 3, 2009 Election
Issue 9
Proposed Charter Amendment
City of Cincinnati

Majority Approval Required

Fail: 31,333 / 43.75% Yes votes ...... 40,288 / 56.25% No votes

See Also: Index of all Issues

Information shown below: Summary |

Shall the Charter of the City of Cincinnati be amended to prohibit the city, and its various boards and commissions, from spending any monies for right-of-way acquisition or construction of improvements for passenger rail transportation (e.g. a trolley or streetcar) within the city limits without first submitting the question of approval of such expenditure to a vote of the electorate of the city and receiving a majority affirmative vote for the same, by enacting new Article XIV? YES NO

Summary Prepared by League of Women Voters:
Explanation: The proposed ballot issue would amend the Charter of the City of Cincinnati by adding Article XIV. The new article would require the approval of City voters before the City or any of its Boards and Commissions could spend money for right-of-way acquisition or construction of improvements for any passenger rail transportation, including but not limited to streetcars.

This proposed Charter amendment was placed on the ballot through an initiative petition process that gathered sufficient qualified signatures requiring City Council to place the issue on the November 2009 ballot.

What the amendment would do: The new Charter article would require the City to hold an election for the purpose of asking voter approval before the City could spend any monies on acquisition of right-of-ways or construction of improvements for any passenger rail transportation projects within the City of Cincinnati. "Trolley or streetcar" is provided in the amendment as an example of passenger rail transportation. The amendment would affect all current and future passenger rail transportation including proposals for rail transit in the Eastern Corridor and passenger rail service connecting major Ohio and mid-west cities and any other passenger rail projects planned for the future which involve any city spending.

Background: The amendment is on the ballot because sufficient signatures were collected in a petition effort in response to a Cincinnati Streetcar Proposal now being considered by the City. According to petitioners, a Charter Amendment is an effective means to require a vote of the electorate before money is spent on such projects. The proposed Charter Amendment requiring a vote of approval for purchase of right of way or construction of improvements would apply to any passenger rail transportation within the City (streetcar or trolley used as an example). This requirement would affect current planning for and eventual construction for passenger rail service connecting Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland, and Cincinnati and eastern suburb.

Supporters Say:

  • This Charter Amendment would assure a public vote on passenger rail transportation including a streetcar before City funds are spent for right of way or construction.
  • Voters should have a say about passenger rail projects which are usually expensive and long-term investments.
  • A charter amendment is an appropriate means for citizens to exercise their right to petition their government.
  • Voting on rail transit projects would force city government to be transparent in its funding and long range planning.
  • The proposed streetcar route under discussion is the wrong plan.

Opponents Say:
  • This amendment should not be in the charter because it is too specific and restricts a particular aspect of City Council's legislative authority and responsibility related to passenger rail service in the city.
  • This amendment would effectively prohibit the City from planning rail transit projects because the project may be denied by a vote of the electorate and the expenditures in planning could not be recovered.
  • This amendment will delay the City from accessing state and federal transportation dollars if every passenger rail project has to wait for voter approval.
  • This amendment would restrict passenger rail transit as an option for our City unless voters approve each project.
  • Requiring voters' approval before spending money on passenger rail transit would result in excessive delays in the development and implementation of an adequate transportation system for our City and limit transportation options that are part of local, state and national long range plans.

  Nonpartisan Information

League of Women Voters

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We Demand a Vote
Website in support of Issue 9

Cincinnatians for Progress
Website opposed to Issue 9
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Created: December 29, 2009 12:11 PST
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