How Cincinnati Intends To Find Western Hills Viaduct Replacement Dollars

Dec 14, 2017

Cincinnati's mayor says he has a enough votes on council to get the ball rolling on more local money to replace an important piece of infrastructure.

Mayor John Cranley is proposing Cincinnati restructure its capital debt to help fund the Western Hills Viaduct replacement project.

Council members are expected to pass a motion and ordinance next week directing the city's financial advisory firm, Davenport, to come up with a plan to find $33 million.

"There's no question that if you look at our capital debt, over the next five or six years we can free up $33 million," Cranley says. "[Davenport's] going to come in and present options to City Council in January on the best way to structure that debt and what the implications of that debt are."

Cranley says he thinks the restructuring can be done without a property tax increase.

"Not necessarily," he responds when asked if bond restructuring could mean increasing property taxes, "It's possible, but Davenport will give Council options in January."

Hamilton County commissioners are also pledging $33 million. That money will come from a $5 license plate fee approved last month.

City and county leaders will use the local dollars to try to secure state and federal funding for the $330 million project.

"I'm confident that (Commissioner) Denise Driehaus and I and (Commissioner Todd) Portune and others will go to Columbus, go to Washington, and find the rest of the money," Cranley says. "We will go there, not with the possibility that we can come up with local money, but a legally binding ordinance that won't be able to be undone, to know that the money is in hand."

Cincinnati is also applying for a $15 million TIGER grant to help pay for the replacement.