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Chabot Attempts to Deny Federal Streetcar Funding

By Hannah McCartney · July 3rd, 2012 · City Desk
 A voice vote introduced to the U.S. House by our own Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) led to an approved amendment to the 2013 Transportation and Housing Urban Development spending bill that bars federal transportation funds from being used to design, construct or operate a Cincinnati streetcar.

Chabot’s efforts by no means indicate the city’s inability to move forward with and fund the streetcar project, which broke ground in Over-the-Rhine in February. In order for the federal assistance to actually be denied, the same amendment would also have to be approved by the U.S. Senate and the President.

“My amendment is about priorities,” Rep. Chabot said in a statement. “This project is far from a necessity while projects of high priority like the Brent Spence Bridge and I-71 MLK interchange are left on hold.”

The release states that the amendment would “stop in its tracks the federal grant money sought by the city of Cincinnati for the streetcar project.”

Chabot, who holds a strong conservative voting record, helped lead a 2002 campaign against building a light rail in Hamilton County. In March, he introduced a controversial bill to place harsh restrictions on the Section 8 housing program.

According to the city of Cincinnati, the cost to complete the first 4-mile segment of the streetcar is $95 million, plus the cost of relocating utility lines (a responsibility not yet allocated to Duke Energy nor the city). The city has already procured a $25 million Urban Circulator Grant from Federal Transit Administration, a $10.9 million TIGER 3 grant from the Department of Transportation as part of an economic recovery initiative and $4 million in funding from the Ohio-Kentucky Regional Council of Governments (OKI).



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