It announces a set of multi-year economic incentives for those who create jobs along the new streetcar's route.
Odd. I thought the streetcar itself was supposed to be the economic development driver. The hundreds of millions spent on tracks and traincars was supposed to be returned multifold by the boosted property values and increased tax revenues generated by new tenants filling vacant buildings, new businesses opening shop, and existing businesses enjoying a boost to their bottom lines. Job growth would be one of the fruits of all this new activity.
Building these tracks was supposed to be so much better than regular bus transit because the "permanency" of the tracks would make the route inherently more attractive versus other areas that lack the streetcar access.
So how's that attractiveness thing working out?
Atlanta's Mayor Kasim Reed says: “The Atlanta Streetcar project will help to revitalize this corridor and, thanks to this announcement, there will be an additional incentive for businesses to make further investments along the streetcar route.”
Atlanta is designating the route an "opportunity zone," which means businesses located "can qualify for a yearly income tax credit of $3,500 for each new job created provided that there at least two net new jobs. Tax credits are good for up to five years and $17,500 as long as the business continues to hire at least two new people per year. Opportunity Zones are used as an incentive to attract new businesses and encourage existing businesses to hire additional employees."
So...the existence of a streetcar fails to attract investment on its own. So now Atlanta will be spending on a streetcar PLUS giving away tax revenue. If you keep giving away tax breaks, then growth from development cannot result in any increased revenue to support the city services needed by the new development, or any other priority the city may have. (Meanwhile, no "additional" tax breaks for the other businesses in the area as they create jobs.)
If Atlanta needs these types of tax incentives, then what will Cincinnati need to give away?