February 14th, 2013 By German Lopez | News | Posted In: Budget, 2013 Election, News, Mayor, Streetcar

Qualls Raises Concerns Over Streetcar Project

Streetcar construction bids come over budget

quallsVice Mayor Roxanne Qualls

The latest batch of bad streetcar news provoked a harsh memo to the city manager’s office from Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, a Democrat who has long supported the $125 million transit project. In the memo, Qualls wrote about “serious concerns” regarding the project’s costs and timetable.

“Whether people support or oppose the streetcar project, everyone has a vested interest in getting the most for our public dollars and in having the highest confidence in the management of the project,” Qualls wrote. “While a council majority has continued to support the project, council has not given the administration a ‘blank check.’”

The memo suggested putting the streetcar project through “intensive value engineering” to bring the project’s budget and timetable back in line — preferably in time for the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

The memo is in response to streetcar construction bids coming in $26 million to $43 million over budget.

Meg Olberding, city spokesperson, says the bids leave the city with two options: The city could take up the current bids, which could have their costs brought down upon further review, or the city could reject the bids and rebid the project, which would cause delays. But Olberding also cautions that the administration is still working on fully reviewing the bids — a process that could take weeks or longer.

Qualls is running for mayor against John Cranley, a former Democratic council member. Cranley has been a vocal opponent of the streetcar project — creating a strong contrast between the two candidates that has placed the streetcar in the center of the 2013 mayoral race.

Earlier today, Cranley held a press conference asking the city to halt the streetcar project. In a statement, he argued it is “irresponsible” to continue work on the streetcar in light of the higher costs.

CityBeat previously covered the streetcar and how it relates to the race between Qualls and Cranley (“Back on the Ballot,” issue of Jan. 23).

02.14.2013 at 06:36 Reply

Before the trolleybell dings, she will have disowned it three times.
But still, she'll always be a disciple of the sacred streetcar.
The word "duplicitous" comes to mind here.


02.15.2013 at 02:06 Reply

Why don't they put a Metro bus on the trolley route/schedule and see if it gets any use? I believe in public transit but the details I've seen so far about the trolley leave me doubtful. Traveling little faster than a walking pace? Going from downtown to Over the Rhine? Why not the stadiums, museum center, places that will generate riders? 


02.15.2013 at 07:58

The streetcar will go from Over-the-Rhine to The Banks, which includes the stadiums. There are plans to make it expand further, but they have been hampered by state and national Republicans blocking funding.


02.19.2013 at 09:25 Reply

I dont live in Cincy or Hamilton County, so I have no dog in the fight.  However, from the outside looking in, this seems to be a huge waste of tax payer cash.  Do something better with it!