streetcar

Provided / SORTA

Cincinnati officials could be looking to plug about a $500,000 hole in the streetcar operating budget.  

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, which will run the system, now estimates fare revenues will be about $675,000 a year.  That is less than an earlier estimate of $1 million.  
 

Part of the reduction could be in how fares are charged.  SORTA is planning for $1 for a two-hour pass.  Earlier studies were based on $1 per trip.

Jay Hanselman / WVXU

A Cincinnati Council Committee discussion about the streetcar Tuesday did not yield much in the way of decisions.

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) says it has received proposals for operating the streetcar, but would not disclose how many or who bid, saying it can't do so under Federal Transit Administration protocols.

Rail Manager Paul Grether did explain how SORTA plans to present the best bids to Council using a "blind process."

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Second Street is closed between Vine and Main as crews install a curved piece of streetcar track.  Project Executive John Deatrick says it will be closed for two weeks because of the complicated nature of the construction.

“Traffic is difficult, but this is technically very difficult work,” Deatrick says.  “Putting in expansion boxes that allow the rail to slip back and forth against each other but yet keep the streetcar on the tracks when you pass over a bridge expansion joint.”

Those joints allow for expansion and contraction during hot and cold weather. 

Provided / SORTA

Construction work continues on the first phase of the Cincinnati streetcar project despite lots of snow and cold temperatures.  Crews once again plan to work on track at a busy downtown intersection this weekend. 

Project executive John Deatrick said that construction has been delayed twice because of the weather.

“The rail will start Friday night at 7 p.m., Fifth Street will be closed because we can’t put the rail down half at a time in the intersection,” Deatrick said.  “We have to do the whole intersection at one go.”

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Crews this week are putting up the overhead wires in Over-the-Rhine that will power the Cincinnati streetcar.  Crews worked Wednesday along Elm Street, between 14th and Henry. 

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 / SORTA

The team managing the city's streetcar project is being asked to take a look at the remaining construction items and decide what's needed and what can be left out to save money.  

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.

Provided/City of Cincinnati

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:

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