Streetcar
8:59 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Streetcar presentation before council Thursday

Cincinnati Council’s Budget and Finance Committee will hear a presentation Thursday about how much it would cost to stop the city’s streetcar project. Council members will be able to ask questions, but the public will not be able to testify.

Project Executive John Deatrick will make the presentation for the city’s administration. It’s unknown if he’ll identify a specific amount for cancelling the project, or offer a range.

Some costs could be subject to negotiation or lawsuits involving contractors building the actual tracks and the Spanish company constructing the five streetcars for the planned system.

Right now a Council majority and the mayor support the plan. But new Mayor John Cranley campaigned against the streetcar and vowed to stop it if elected.

Of the new nine-member Council taking over December 1, three members support the plan, three want it stopped and three say they want more detailed information before deciding on the project’s fate.

Officials in Washington, D.C. have already told the city the nearly $45 million of federal money for the streetcar must be returned if the project is stopped. Federal dollars also would not be available for costs to close it out.

A grassroots group of residents that recently formed is working to save the project. They held an organizing meeting last week. Supporters say the streetcar is an economic development tool and it will cost as much to stop it as to continue construction. Opponents say the city can’t afford the plan.

Thursday’s hearing on the streetcar begins at noon at city hall.