city streetcar

Provided/City of Cincinnati

Six Cincinnati council members are signing on to a plan to pay for the costs of operating the city's streetcar system.  The proposal was introduced Wednesday during a press conference at city hall.  

It anticipates streetcar operations will cost the city about $4.2 million a year.

The funds will come from three sources including parking revenues from Over-the-Rhine and the Central Business District.

Jay Hanselman

Streetcar track work is now moving into Cincinnati's Central Business District and that likely will continue through early 2015 as part of the $133 million project.

"Seeing the track on Walnut Street is an exciting milestone in the construction process," said project executive John Deatrick in a statement.  "It's a sign the streetcar is getting closer to achieving our goal to connect two major downtown neighborhoods: Over-the-Rhine and the Central Business District."

Cincinnati officials now say the nearly three week pause in construction on the city's streetcar project cost nearly $1 million.  That includes more than $637,000 for contractors.

“Cost directly associated with the pause itself for MPD and its subcontractors,” said Chris Eilerman, streetcar project manager.  “So it’s largely go to be down time, idle equipment time, those kind of costs basically incurred during the pause itself.”

MPD is a partnership of three companies working on the streetcar project.  They include Messer, Prus, and Delta.

A Cincinnati Council Committee tasked with overseeing the streetcar project wants more information on different ways to pay for it.  Those funds could be used to extend it to the Uptown area near the University of Cincinnati, or for dollars to operate the loop now being built in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.  

The Major Transportation Committee Tuesday asked for more details on special improvement districts or special assessment districts.

Cincinnati officials said Wednesday they still do not know the cost of delaying work on the streetcar project for most of last month.  They're still calculating that number and also the effect on the timeline to build the first phase.  

Council delayed the project for several weeks before deciding on December 19th to let it move forward.  Officials also say the cold weather has caused some delays.  

The first actual streetcar will arrive in the city in March 2015.  

Update 12/18/13 @ 9:30 PM: 

Cincinnati Council will likely vote Thursday on whether the city's controversial streetcar project will continue. 

Construction has been on hold since December 4th.  Now the group will decide whether to let work resume or finally pull the plug on the plan. 

So far the city has spent $34 million on the streetcar project.  An independent audit firm reported Wednesday it will cost anywhere from $16 to $46 million to cancel the streetcar or about $69 million to complete it. 

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.

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.”

Provided from City of Cincinnati

Cincinnati Council will likely approve an ordinance Tuesday telling city administrators to complete the first phase of the streetcar project in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.  The action comes as the city's new mayor, John Cranley, has vowed to stop the plan.  

Council's Budget and Finance Committee approved the ordinance Monday after a conference call with Dorval Carter, who's the chief counsel for the Federal Transit Administration.  The FTA has provided funding for the city project.  He said requests to pause or cancel a project are relatively rare.

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.

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.

Pages