Cincinnati streetcar

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Fifteen months after it began, the track loop for the Cincinnati Streetcar in Over the Rhine is now finished.

Just after 9:00 Monday morning workers welded the track together on Race Street between Elder and Green Streets, just south of Findlay Market.

This is the track that will serve as the test track for the first streetcar vehicles when they arrive in the fall of 2015. Workers still have to install overhead power lines and poles in OTR.

Provided / SORTA

The team managing the city's streetcar project is being asked to take a look at the remaining construction items and decide what's needed and what can be left out to save money.  

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati's mayor and city manager will be meeting with the streetcar team this week to discuss the dwindling amount of money in the contingency fund.  If all worst case scenarios happen, the fund could have just $80,000 left in it.  It started out with more than $9 million. 

Mayor John Cranley says the message to streetcar officials John Deatrick and Chris Eilerman is this: "We need to have a team that's going to bring the streetcar in on time and under budget, or we need a new team."

Provided / SORTA

The SORTA board of trustees has signed off on an operating and maintenance agreement for the streetcar.  Cincinnati Council has already approved the agreement, which spells out the responsibilities of the transit authority and the city.

The new streetcar logo was also unveiled Tuesday.

Under terms of the agreement, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority will make an annual funding request to the city to cover operating costs.  The city will collect the funds from fares, advertising revenue, parking fees, and from property tax abatement offset revenue.

provided / Metro

The former head of Atlanta’s streetcar project is now the chief executive officer of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority.

The SORTA Board approved Dwight Ferrell as the new CEO Tuesday morning.

Ferrell comes to the Cincinnati area from Fulton County, Georgia, where he served as county manager since October 2013.  Before that, he was the deputy general manager and chief operating officer of MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority for four years.

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