Cincinnati streetcar

Provided from City of Cincinnati

Update 12/6/13:

Mayor Cranley on his Facebook page says, at his request, the Federal Transportation Administration has decided to hold off on canceling the streetcar project until December 19 to allow city to make a final decision.

Update 12/4/13 9:00 PM:

Construction on most parts of Cincinnati's streetcar project will be coming to a halt.  But that's not to say you won't see some workers on the job in parts of Downtown or Over-the-Rhine. 

Provided from City of Cincinnati

Five of the nine Cincinnati City Council members are expected to vote Wednesday to temporarily suspend work and spending on the streetcar project.  That majority says the pause will allow leaders to figure out the true costs of cancelling the program compared to how much it would cost to complete the first phase of the project. 

Council will vote on 11 streetcar related ordinances.   They all contain monetary appropriations, which likely mean streetcar supporters cannot seek a referendum to overturn them. 

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati Council will hold another special session Tuesday afternoon to continue discussion about pausing construction and spending on the streetcar project.

It’s a truism in politics: Running for office is the relatively easy part; the governing part is where it gets a little tricky.

John Cranley, the Democrat and former councilman who is sworn into office as Cincinnati’s 69th mayor today, has been around long enough to know this.

He came out of the November 5 election with a big win – 16 percentage points over rival and fellow Democrat Roxanne Qualls.

And he came out like a ball of fire.

Scuttle the parking lease deal?

No problem.

Cincinnati  Mayor-elect John Cranley Friday released his list of city council committees and who will be the chairpersons of those committees.  The full Council could approve them Sunday. 

The new streetcar committee is scheduled to meet Monday at noon.  A press release said the group will "consider a proposal aimed at pausing streetcar spending and implementing a comprehensive, objective review of the project in order to determine the true cost of cancellation vs. continuation."

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

As expected, Cincinnati Council Tuesday passed an ordinance requiring city administrators to complete the first phase of the streetcar project.  

City solicitor John Curp was asked to explain the action.

“This would place the directive to proceed with the streetcar as an ordinance, as a law of the city,” Curp said.  “Which would obligate the manager to proceed with that directive until another law or ordinance was passed to replace it.”

Update 11/21/13 @ 5:20PM:  Cincinnati mayor-elect John Cranley is not being swayed by the city administration's cost estimates to cancel the streetcar project.

“It doesn’t cost $40 million to say stop,” Cranley said Thursday during a press conference.  “It doesn’t take a year to get out of this madness.  We’re going to immediately put a halt to this project.”

Cranley is still promising a Council vote the first week of December to temporarily stop the streetcar project.

Provided from City of Cincinnati

Cincinnati Council’s Budget and Finance Committee will hear a presentation Thursday about how much it would cost to stop the city’s streetcar project. Council members will be able to ask questions, but the public will not be able to testify.

Project Executive John Deatrick will make the presentation for the city’s administration. It’s unknown if he’ll identify a specific amount for cancelling the project, or offer a range.

Jay Hanselman

Supporters of the Cincinnati streetcar are asking people to contact mayor-elect John Cranley and council members-elect to keep the project alive.  Cranley campaigned against it and vowed to stop it if elected.  

Streetcar supporters held a public forum Thursday night at the Mercantile Library in downtown.  An overflow crowd watched the session on the video board at Fountain Square.

Supporters said the project is important for three reasons: reputation, community and the future.  

Ryan Messer is one of the grassroots organizers trying to save the streetcar.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Over-the-Rhine Community members and business owners are rallying support for the streetcar project in the wake of last week's election. They're calling on the mayor-elect and new council members to keep the streetcar moving forward.

Derek dos Anjos owns a seafood restaurant near the streetcar route.

"I moved here two years ago from New York, NY and I've seen first hand what light rail can do for a city," says dos Anjos. "It would be a big shame if we didn't continue the streetcar. My business is depending on it. Mr. Cranley, please don't do this."

Jay Hanselman

Mayor Mark Mallory, quickly coming to the close of his eight years as Cincinnati mayor, used a combination of serious talk, comedic one-liners, videos and slide shows Tuesday night to make the case that he has helped turned a struggling city around.

Before a crowd of about 200 invited guests on a set dressed like a living room at Over-the-Rhine’s Ensemble Theatre, Mallory talked for an hour and five minutes about the legacy he leaves when he vacates the mayor’s office Dec. 1.

Jay Hanselman / WVXU

Public officials and residents who support the Cincinnati streetcar project gathered in front of Music Hall on Elm Street Tuesday as the first pieces of track were put into place.  The unloading and installation will continue many times for the next 2 years.  

Mayor Mark Mallory said it's a big deal.

"This project has come a long way, we've had a lot of obstacles, we've had some crazy opposition," Mallory said.  "But this is the project that will not stop."

Jay Hanselman

Crews officially began demolition work Monday on two vacant buildings at the corner of Race and Henry in Over-the-Rhine.  The site is being cleared to construct the new maintenance facility for the streetcar system.  

It's where the vehicles will be cleaned and maintained and operations staff will be housed.  

Project Manager John Deatrick said this is a visible sign of construction since most streetcar work has been underground moving or repairing utilities.  He said that task will also continue.

The Banks website

The man behind Cincinnati's popular Banks development along the riverfront is officially moving on to something a little more challenging.

John Deatrick is taking over the Cincinnati Streetcar as the project executive. Challenging because the project and its funding remain hot-button issues.

Deatrick says he believes Cincinnati needs to repopulate its urban core, not only with people but also goods and services.

Jay Hanselman / WVXU

Cincinnati officials Monday signed a contract for construction work on the city's controversial streetcar system. 

The action means Cincinnati-based Messer Construction and two other firms can proceed with the project.  That includes ordering materials, and beginning track construction, plus the power system, the stations and a maintenance and operation facility located at Race and Henry Streets. 

The city says the system could be ready for passengers on September 15, 2016. 

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