Cincinnati Council's "Pause" Vote Imperils Streetcar Project

By a 5-4 margin, the Cincinnati City Council voted to pause the city's streetcar project in order to further study the costs of canceling it. If warnings from the federal government are to be taken seriously, the vote itself may kill the project.
December 5, 2013, 12pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"After a meeting filled with fire and suspense, City Council voted 5-4 to pause streetcar construction indefinitely, leaving the project’s future murky," reports Cindi Andrews. "Council is halting work on the $133 million project to get an independent analysis on the costs to continue versus stop construction – estimated to take two to four weeks."

The vote come after the streetcar's executive director reported it would cost nearly as much to cancel the project as to complete it, and the Acting City Manager reported that pausing the project would cost more than continuing it. In addition, the Federal Transit Administration, which is kicking in $45 million, "has previously said pausing the project would be the same as ending it from the federal viewpoint."  

"The decision came after three days of testimony from well over 100 people, most of whom wanted the streetcar to continue," notes Andrews.

According to Randy Simes, they're not the only voices rising in support of the project. "Earlier today," he notes, "the Business Courier reported that leadership at companies including Procter & Gamble, Frost Brown Todd, CBRE, Otto M. Buding Family Foundation, Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation, Greiwe Development Group, Grandin Properties, Blue Chip Venture, Jack Rouse Associates and Fifth Third Bank all expressed specific interest in either finishing the streetcar project or moving forward with a comprehensive regional rail transit system."

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Published on Thursday, December 5, 2013 in Cincinnati.com
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