Another streetcar vote after conference call with federal lawyer

Nov 25, 2013

Cincinnati Council will likely approve an ordinance Tuesday telling city administrators to complete the first phase of the streetcar project in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.  The action comes as the city's new mayor, John Cranley, has vowed to stop the plan.  

Council's Budget and Finance Committee approved the ordinance Monday after a conference call with Dorval Carter, who's the chief counsel for the Federal Transit Administration.  The FTA has provided funding for the city project.  He said requests to pause or cancel a project are relatively rare.

“Most of the projects that have been funded have moved forward,” Carter said.  “And if they faced barriers or problems, they were handled in a way that did not ultimately put the grant at risk.”

Carter said the FTA will immediately halt funding and begin debt collection if the project is paused or cancelled.  

If Council approves the ordinance, the new mayor and council would have to pass another ordinance repealing the one calling for the first phase to be completed.  

Meanwhile, Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld has scheduled a speech for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday to outline his thoughts and vote on the issue.