by German Lopez
Posted In: News
at 02:19 PM | Permalink
City Council expected to vote on budget updates Monday
Cincinnati's streetcar project is getting another $5 million in federal funding. But before the money is handed over, the city must first eliminate cost overruns that have recently put the project in danger.U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood unveiled the news in a letter to Mayor Mark Mallory dated June 19. The letter acknowledges the project's recent cost overruns, but goes on to claim the federal government still backs the project."The DOT (Department of Transportation) continues to support your bold vision for economic development and enhanced transportation choices for the city of Cincinnati, and we believe that this project is a significant component of that vision. With that in mind, I want to provide up to $5 million in additional assistance from DOT," LaHood wrote.But the money comes with two conditions: The city must first fix the streetcar project's cost overruns and restore certain aspects of the project, including a passenger information system and a screen or wall that would block power substations from public view.The $5 million will be on top of the nearly $40 million the federal government has already contributed to the project through various grants and programs.The funding bump comes just in time for City Council's Monday vote on the streetcar project's cost overruns.In February, the city received construction bids that were $26 million to $43 million over budget, effectively leading to a $17.4 million budget gap and a $133 million overall cost for the project.Since then, City Manager Milton Dohoney proposed a few fixes to City Council, including pulling funding from various capital projects and issuing more debt.At the same time, Dohoney told City Council the city administration was working with federal officials to find opportunities for more federal funding. The new commitment is presumably the result of those discussions.City Council is expected to vote on the budget fixes Monday. So far, council members Roxanne Qualls, Yvette Simpson, Wendell Young and Laure Quinlivan have vowed support, but Council will need a fifth vote — perhaps from Chris Seelbach or Pam Thomas — to pass the changes.Read the full letter below: Streetcar Letter to Mayor MalloryUpdate (3:55 p.m.): This story was updated with additional context.
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Federal transportation officials announced late last week that Cincinnati will receive a $24.9 million grant to help build a proposed streetcar system, while the NAACP's local chapter continues its strange disconnect from the organization’s national office.
6 Comments · Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Splashed across The Enquirer's front page May 23 in a font size usually reserved for the declaration of war or World Series championships was the headline "Poll: Most Oppose Streetcars." The article's tone was quickly set by its claim that Cincinnatians oppose the city's proposed $128 million streetcar project 2-to-1. But if readers delved into the poll's details, which The Enquirer posted online but not in the newspaper, they found some important nuances — like the pro/con opinion was actually almost evenly split. Huge nuance.