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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Anti-Streetcar COAST Releases Duke Power Letter Questioning Utility Acess: Energy Co. Reaffirms Continuing 'Support' For Streetcars

Duke Energy 'Supports' Cincinnati Streetcars
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- COAST didn't exactly get a statement from Duke Energy that says the proposed Cincinnati streetcar system should be killed.  Instead, Duke said it shouldn't have to spend ratepayer funds to relocate buried utilities along the route -- a sum estimated at $13 million.  Duke makes clear it "continues to support the streetcar project and we look forward to working with the city on these issues and seeing the city break ground on this project."  That signals there will be more negotiations ahead, undoubtedly tough negotiations.

Here's the COAST website, and here's the complete text of the letter from Duke Energy released by the anti-tax group:

Since 2010, company representatives have worked with city officials to review the proposed streetcar project and determine how much infrastructure beneath and above the city streets would need to be relocated to accommodate this new utility. Although these conversations have been cooperative and aimed at arriving at a mutually agreeable solution, it seems we have reached an impasse.
Earlier today, we asked the mayor for the city's commitment on two very important and unresolved issues related to the streetcar project: safety concerns around the project plan and who should pay for the relocation of the company's pipes and wires below the city streets.
When Duke Energy Ohio initiates changes such as moving gas, chilled water, fiber and electric infrastructure, the changes are generally intended to improve service, and so the costs associated with such work are shared by all customers. Duke Energy Ohio has an obligation to keep those costs as low as possible. In this case, the costs are only to accommodate the streetcar. That's why we hope everyone can agree that the costs should be funded through the city.
Additionally, the current design for the streetcar simply doesn't create an adequate corridor around the company's underground utilities for access during routine maintenance or emergency repairs. A minimum clearance of eight feet from the edge of the streetcar is needed to ensure the safety of our employees, city residents and the streetcar riders.

The company continues to support the streetcar project and we look forward to working with the city on these issues, and seeing the city break ground on this project.

As for COAST, this is how it is spinning this latest development:
COAST and the Cincinnati Business Courier have methodically uncovered significant flaws in Mayor Mallory's Streetcar plan, including their attempt to shift the cost of utility relocation to ratepayers, and the foolish plan to build streetcar improvements on top of utility lines.  The City has been claiming to media and the public that these are all small, insignificant issues that will be addressed through negotiations. However, today, COAST received this release from Duke Energy declaring an impasse with the City on cost and safety issues:


  1. So your spin is to whine about COAST instead of reporting on the undeniable fact that the cost of the streetcar plan just went up by millions of dollars with City government having no plan in place to pay for the massive cost increase?

    Great "reporting" Bill.

    1. I think Bill used the Duke Power letter and used COAST's comments. Seems like he was even handed and I am glad to see that he put it all on this blog.

      I don't think there has ever been a plan in place to completely pay for the streetcar. I don't think there was a plan in place to pay for the City of Cincinnati when the settlers floated down the Ohio River and landed at Fort Washington in 1788. I don't think COAST has a plan in place to pay its rent in 2014. There was a plan in place to pay for Paul Brown Stadium. It wasn't worth the paper it was printed on as things turned out.

    2. COAST=Waah Waah Waah

  2. The big story here is these utilities costs are blowing the streetcar estimates out of the water. Cincinnati budgeted $6 million total for utilities. The utilities covered by Duke alone will cost $18 million. MSD won't pay a dime for the $6 million estimated to remove their utilities.

    Cincinnati refuses to be honest with people about the true costs of the streetcar. Streetcar supporters want to pretend this elephant in the room isn't there.

  3. Let's be clear about something. If this were a highway project this discussion would not even be happening. Duke uses the public right of way for its utilities at no cost to them. So if we have to build a road they move them at their expense. This is no different.