Wed February 27, 2013
Cincinnati and SORTA resolve transit fund dispute
Cincinnati City Council ended its dispute with the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority Wednesday by approving Metro's operating budget for the remaining four-months of the city's fiscal year.
Council had been approving monthly budgets because of a disagreement with the SORTA, which manages the bus system, over how the city's transit tax can be spent.
The SORTA Board argued it was only for Metro purposes and had filed a lawsuit concerning the issue.
The city countered it could be used for any transit related expense.
Cincinnati Solicitor John Curp said Wednesday the two sides have now resolved the dispute.
Curp said Cincinnati has agreed it will not use the transit fund for the regular maintenance of streets, sidewalks and streetlights.
The SORTA Board has also agreed to remove any reference to the transit fund in an intergovernmental agreement between the bus agency and the city required for allocating federal dollars designated for the streetcar project.
Several years ago the city used transit money to cover a budget shortfall and SORTA has been objecting since then.
A portion of the city's 2.1 percent earnings tax is set aside for transit purposes.