November 07, 2011
Agenda 360 recommends a “no” vote on Issue 48
by Mary Stagaman, Executive Director, Agenda 360
As we work to build the overall strength of our regional economy, I am writing to ask fellow Cincinnati residents to vote “no” on ballot Issue 48, rejecting the idea that all forms of rail transit are a bad deal for our city.
When Agenda 360 was rolled out in 2009, it identified transportation—and creation of a regional transit strategy—as a key priority. More transportation options was a consistent theme among the thousands of people—from senior citizens to young professionals—who influenced our focus areas. Beyond practical considerations, many voices suggested that any region that aspires to “world class” status must have good transit among its assets.
Moreover, the dozens of corporate and civic leaders who experienced Denver’s no. 1 rated system first-hand on our September Leadership Exchange believe now is the time for us to step up. We are ready to have a serious conversation about the development of a truly regional transportation system that unites Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.
As Agenda 360 recommends, this plan must address critical infrastructure issues such as the Brent Spence Bridge and the condition of our roadways, while leveraging the business opportunities created by our fortuitous intersection of wheels, rail, water, and air. But it must also address transit. Access to transit is important to the talent we want to attract to our region and it’s even more important to those of us who are already here.
According to the Center for Neighborhood Technology, Southwestern Ohio residents alone spend $6.5 billion a year on transportation needs, pushing the cost of housing and transportation together beyond 60 percent of a typical paycheck for some families. Using transit instead of a car is more than just a lifestyle choice for young professionals—it’s a lifeline to get people of modest income from far-flung neighborhoods to our job centers.
Beyond that, a well-planned, multimodal transit system could get many more of us out of our cars and onto public transportation, reducing cost, carbon emissions, and air pollution. And though it may be difficult to think of a time when we won’t want our cars, Baby Boomers like me should consider how we will stay active and connected to the community when our kids take the car keys away.
Building out a comprehensive system will take time and so we must seize this moment to craft the vision and a plan for implementation. We can’t have that conversation without the City of Cincinnati at the table, so I urge you to take the long view, carefully considering the real choice we are making tomorrow.
Your “no” vote will ensure that we can explore all possible options for creating a better and more competitive transportation system for our region.
Your “no” vote could mean that you or a neighbor or family member will have the means to get to work, even if the job is miles away from home.
And your “no” vote will enlist you in the effort to facilitate our growth and prosperity with a first-class transportation system added to our list of remarkable assets.
Simply put, Issue 48 will severely limit our efforts to compete successfully for people and jobs. Please join me and vote “no” tomorrow on Issue 48.