Opponents of the Cincinnati Streetcar are spreading unjustified fears that a massive requested rate increase by Duke Energy is somehow tied to Cincinnati’s relatively small transit project.
Those who perpetuate such fears have ignored the far larger, $87 million Duke utility relocation costs it must pay at its own expense for the $2.5 billion Brent Spence Bridge replacement past downtown Cincinnati and over the Ohio River.
Both of those one-time costs are less than the annual revenues that Duke is seeking to raise in Ohio (and in other states like North Carolina) via its requested rate increases.
“Duke is seeking to increase electric distribution revenues by $86,581,974, or approximately 24.02 [percent] over current revenues. Duke is also seeking to increase natural gas distribution revenues by $44,607,929, or approximately 18.09 percent over current revenues,” according to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
Unfortunately, streetcar opponents within the otherwise objective Cincinnati media blamed the $110 million streetcar project for Duke’s rate increase requests. One of those, WLW-AM posted a false story on its Web site but edited it after about 10 minutes. A resident screen-saved the false story which read in part: “The possible rate increase is in response to the Cincinnati Streetcar project that required Duke Energy to relocate utility lines.”
“False reporting has no place in professional, objective journalism in the United States of America,” said All Aboard Ohio Executive Director Ken Prendergast. “We are grateful that the initial report was deleted. However, others in media and the community have followed in spreading irresponsible falsehoods about the streetcar project and its unsubstantiated link to the proposed rate increase. We encourage the pursuit of research and context by all responsible journalists and others seeking informed public discussion.”