Election Day 2009 means full steam ahead for proponents of rail transit nationally and in the Buckeye State. Nationally, rail supporters won the day over opponents of expanded rail transit in several cities. In Cincinnati, voters defeated a ballot initiative which could have stalled plans for the southern portion of the proposed 3C-D passenger rail system in Ohio.
Opponents of a proposed streetcar system put a ballot initiative forward that would have changed the city’s charter to require a vote before any funds could be expended on any passenger rail projects, including acquisition of needed right of way. Citizens for Progress organized the opposition to the initiative (Issue 9) and successfully knit together a coalition of community and business organizations to reject the initiative. The Sierra Club was a partner in the coalition with grassroots support from the Miami Group of the Ohio Chapter. Issue 9 failed with 56 percent of the voters saying “No.” Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, a strong advocate of rail transit, was also re-elected.
Statewide, the decision is good news for the 3C-D proposal which would bring passenger rail into a temporary station on Cincinnati’s east side, with long-term plans to extend service into the city’s Art Deco landmark Union Terminal.