SORTA

Ohio River Way

You have a chance to weigh in Friday on a plan to turn railroad tracks between Lunken Airport and The Montgomery Inn Boathouse into a bike and walking trail.The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA), one of several key players in the multi-million dollar Oasis Line project, will hold a listening session so the community can give its voice to the plan. SORTA spokeswoman Sallie Hilvers says the organization has already heard from other stakeholders.

Provided / SORTA

Cincinnati officials now say the contingency budget for the city's streetcar project is estimated to be $1.3 million.  That is up from the $80,000 reported about a month ago.  

Officials updated a council committee Tuesday on the project.
 
“We have better information and more concrete information upon which to project those expenses,” said Chris Eilerman, a city official working on the project who explained the changes.  “Based on that we’ve been able to hone in on better numbers and the result is what you see here.”

provided / Metro

Metro introduced its new CEO Friday morning at its annual meeting.

Dwight Ferrell got his start in transportation as a bus operator in Texas. He says he has a lot to learn about this region and the Metro system.

He takes a cautious approach when asked about how Metro will run the streetcar, internally or through a third-party operator.

"I will be working with the board and elected officials and the community to develop the system that they want," he says.

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.

Metro CEO resigns

Jul 15, 2014
Cincinnati Metro / Provided

The board that operates Cincinnati's Metro system is looking for a new leader.

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority says CEO and General Manager Terry Garcia Crews is resigning effective immediately.

In a release, the board says Crews is returning to a career in transit industry consulting. Crews was hired in November 2010.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Metro will begin offering health benefits to domestic partners in January 2015.  The busing agency says it is the first transit system of its size in the state to take this step.

Before becoming Metro's Ridership development manager, Kim Lahman  says she benefited from a similar program offered by her partner's employer.

Update 12/17/13 @ 6:20 PM:  Council members Young, Simpson and Seelbach released a statement on SORTA's offer to take responsibility for streetcar operating cost.  A portion reads:

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Metro is rolling out its new Plus service and Uptown Transit District plan around UC and the hospital campuses.

Four new boarding shelters are being installed. They'll feature LED displays with real-time information.

The district will also serve as a transfer point for nine routes rather than going through the main hub downtown.

President and CEO of the Uptown Consortium Beth Robinson says the newly created Uptown Transit District is important for easing congestion.

Michael Keating

Cincinnati City Council ended its dispute with the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority Wednesday by approving Metro's operating budget for the remaining four-months of the city's fiscal year.  

Council had been approving monthly budgets because of a disagreement with the SORTA, which manages the bus system, over how the city's transit tax can be spent.  

The SORTA Board argued it was only for Metro purposes and had filed a lawsuit concerning the issue.   

The city countered it could be used for any transit related expense.  

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