April Fools: Columbus Streetcar Project Relaunched with Kickstarter Campaign
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther officially announced today that the long-dormant High Street Streetcar project is officially back on track. The project was shelved several years ago during the national recession when a plan to fund the project never materialized. Today, city and county officials are expected to gather at City Hall to announce an innovative new way to get the Streetcar operational without introducing new fees or taxes.
“Kickstarter,” exclaimed Mayor Ginther enthusiastically. “Have you heard of this thing yet? You put your project on there, and ask for money, and people give money to the project. It’s really exciting to think of how this new technology will allow Columbus to enter the 21st century of transportation.”
Civic leaders are launching the Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising 100 million dollars, the full cost of the 2.5 mile Streetcar line that would run a loop between OSU and German Village. That includes engineering fees, construction labor, train car procurement and initial implementation. The crowdfunding page provides a breakdown of costs and timelines, and includes a list of rewards for those who want to donate at the various levels. Some of the rewards include:
- $5 — An official “I Funded the Columbus Streetcar” sticker.
- $10 — An official “I Funded the Columbus Streetcar” pin.
- $25 — An Official “Columbus Streetcar” T-Shirt.
- $15 (DEAL) — A “Columbus Bicentennial Celebration” T-Shirt left over from 2012.
- $50 — A personalized email from Mayor Ginther thanking you for your donation.
- $75 — A personalized phone call from Mayor Ginther thanking you for your donation.
- $100 — A custom voicemail message that Mayor Ginther will record on your voice mail (no swearing or reciting of trademarked catchphrases, please).
- $200 — Lunch with Mayor Ginther at City Hall
- $400 — Lunch with Former Mayor Coleman at the law offices of Ice Miller.
- $1,000 — A lifetime* ridership pass for the Streetcar (limit 1 ride per day, excludes weekends, government holidays, expires in 2020).
- $10,000 — A “day as a conductor” experiential package where you get to drive the Streetcar for a day.
- $50,000 — A “lifetime as a conductor” experiential package where you get a full time job.
- $1,000,000 — Naming rights to the Streetcar (not allowed to call it Trainy McTrainface).
“If every man, woman and child in Central Ohio each pitches in just $50 toward the Streetcar, then we’ll hit our funding goal and get this train up and running in no time,” said Lisa Myers, a representative with the Central Ohio Transit Authority. “Of course, everyone should be warned that if you don’t pay anything, you won’t ever be allowed to ride the Streetcar in the future. You’ll have to keep riding the CBUS instead.”
While the Kickstarter campaign has yet to launch, officials at City Hall are already buzzing with excitement about the future potential of crowdfunding campaigns. New projects slated for crowd-sourced donation programs later this year include sewer system upgrades, senior housing programs, and sidewalk repairs.
“I know that Columbus residents will be thrilled at the opportunity to constantly chip in to help fund everything we throw at them through Kickstarter,” concluded Mayor Ginther. “If people are willing to donate $55,000 for potato salad, just think of how much money they’ll donate to improving our city for generations to come.”
For more information, visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/columbusstreetcar.