They said they'd go away but they haven't yet....

Where to start….
Ok, the other week a huge twitter argument cranked up, I’m going to call it an argument because in a discussion people actually listen to each other.
In this argument a CAVE* man claimed it would be cheaper for him to operate a thousand limo’s rather than the city operate a streetcar. I didn’t see his math, because I have him blocked so I only saw ½ of the exchange. I don’t know why these otherwise intelligent college kids were in this exchange since the CAVE* men cling to a maniacally strict adherence to an obsolete mindset.

One of the big arguments for Issue 9 was that rail just doesn’t work in Cincinnati, using as an example a failed project from 81 years ago killed by the Great Depression and lack of political will.

And that brings us to the heart of the matter, the CAVE* men, discount automatically anything proven by scientific study when it contradicts their gut instincts. On one side are researchers who say that every dollar invested in the streetcar downtown will yield $2.75 in economic development and the fact that every city in the country that has invested in rail has seen development follow it. On the other side are the people who cite the anecdotal evidence of a failed project over 80 years ago, that Cincinnatians are against rail, while providing no evidence of this. As a matter of fact Issue 9 which they placed on the ballot was crushed, so we can see there strong opposition to their opposition and people do support rail projects.

Math: the initial loop will cost $128 million so I guess that puts the limos at $128,000 each in their minds. I’ve never bought a limo so we’ll go with that. Investing in one or the other once is one thing, but the streetcar will have a 30 yr life span, the limo, they will be beat-up after 2 yrs, but for argument sake lets give them a 5 yr life span so the limo’s will actually cost $768000000. The next thing I thought is what will a streetcar ride vs. a limo ride cost? Even if we go high, say $2 a ride for the streetcar vs., I found a quote for $70 an hour for a limo. Now 200 students want to go from UC to a Reds game, a streetcar shows up, they all jump on and for $400 they are on their way. Now the limo’s, I can only imagine the traffic jam as 50 limos show up to shuttle the kids to great American, they pay $3500 and they're on their way.
And all that is ONE WAY!

So we have $128 million to construct and maintain the streetcar for three years, meanwhile to support the limo’s we have this from the city budget.
parking budget 2,175,900
street construction, maintenance 10,447,480
signal, pothole pavement curbs 8,525,500
winter maintenance 2,954,980
traffic engineering 4,650,180
total 28,754,040

Over the first three years of the streetcar the city will spend close to $87 million on street maintenance and upkeep. Even in the fake-believe world of the CAVE* men the math just doesn’t add up, they need to stop with the intellectual laziness and begin to think and research their reactionary, wrongheaded and backward looking opinions.

Look for me Opening Day 2012 sitting on the front of the streetcar waving my hat like Slim Pickens at the end of Dr. Strangelove.

*Citizens Against Virtually Everything
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  1. I read an article once (no idea where) that said a limo rents for an hourly rate equivalent to the cost of the car in thousands. The rationale is that after 1000 hours the car is paid for and money starts going solely to upkeep.

    So your $128K limos would actually rent for $128 an hour. That would adjust your numbers a bit.

  2. Except, the limo would never last long enough to be paid off with the usage it would see.

    Thanks for the comment.