Cincinnati streetcar

OK, let’s get this straight.

This new mayor of Cincinnati, John Cranley, ran this fall and won big on a platform where the top three priorities were this:

  1. Kill the streetcar project.
  2. Kill the streetcar project
  3. Kill the streetcar project.

Several days ago, he seemed well on the way to doing just that.

Provided from City of Cincinnati

Federal transit officials Friday morning refused Mayor John Cranley's request to extend the Dec. 19 deadline for pulling $45 million in federal money from the streetcar project.

But the mayor's spokesman, Jay Kincaid, says Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff did agree to talk to pro-streetcar advocates to allow them to make a pitch for more time.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Streetcar supporters are launching a campaign to put a charter amendment on the February ballot forcing the city to finish the streetcar. The group We Believe in Cincinnati says it needs 5,700 signatures but is aiming for 12,000 by Saturday.

  Cincinnati’s new mayor and city council were sworn in Sunday, and, as expected, most of their focus this week has been on the streetcar. Just yesterday, council voted to suspend construction while an audit is done to determine the costs involved in continuing or abandoning the project. We hear arguments for stopping the project from Vice Mayor David Mann and Council Member Kevin Flynn.

City of Cincinnati

  P.G. Sittenfeld and Chris Seelbach are among the Cincinnati City Council members who want to see the streetcar move forward. We hear why they believe it would be unwise to abandon the streetcar project at this point.

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."