|KPMG projected net operating costs of the Cincinnati Streetcar, after fares and advertising revenues, to range from $1.88 million to $2.44 million--about $1 million less than a "trolley on rubber tires."|
During the recent saga of the Cincinnati Streetcar, commentators often pointed to Portland as evidence that streetcars encourage economic development. In response, some anti-rail commentators pointed to a report by the libertarian Cato Institute critical of the Portland Streetcar.
William Lind of The American Conservative co-authored a study refuting much of Cato's report. You can find a link to Lind's report HERE. Lind establishes that, on a per passenger basis, streetcars are more economical to operate than buses. In Cincinnati, Mayor Cranley's proposed "trolley on rubber tires" would have cost at least $4.4 million annually to run, while a City-funded KPMG audit established that the streetcar's annual operating expenses would be at least $1 million less and, after fares and advertising revenue, range as low as $1.88-2.44 million. Streetcars have an operating cost advantage because they attract and carry more passengers than buses.