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.
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.
The cost of building the first phase of the Cincinnati streetcar project could have just increased by $15 million.
A Hamilton County Common Pleas Court judge ruled Tuesday the city cannot force Duke Energy to pay the costs of moving underground utilities along the streetcar route. Duke estimated the cost at $15 million. The city had set aside that amount from the sale of the Blue Ash Airport in case the judge ruled in Duke's favor.
Cincinnati will appeal the decision. In a statement, City Manager Harry Black writes:
Cincinnati Council has approved a three part plan to pay for operating costs of the Cincinnati streetcar.
It includes a mix of fares and advertising income, parking meter revenues from downtown and Over-the-Rhine, and changes to the city's abatement policies asking developers to contribute money to a fund to help with operating costs.
Mayor John Cranley called the plan creative even though he said he still believes the streetcar project is a mistake.