Outgoing Cincinnati council OKs streetcar measure
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 06:34

CINCINNATI (AP) — The mayor-elect plans a meeting of the new Cincinnati city council to stop the streetcar project after the current council approved an ordinance intended to make halting the project more difficult.

At its final meeting Tuesday, Cincinnati's current council voted to approve an ordinance requiring the project to continue, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported (http://cin.ci/1fGpvjH ). The vote made the project a policy directive that can be undone only by another council vote.

The new council and Mayor-Elect John Cranley take over Sunday. Cranley has vowed to kill the project once he takes office.

Cranley had six anti-streetcar votes on the nine-member council. But one member said Tuesday that he no longer supports stopping construction.

"It feels neither prudent nor fiscally responsible to scrap the whole thing," Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld said.

Sittenfeld said the possibility that the city won't have to pay an estimated $3.5 million to $4.5 million in annual operating costs helped influence his changed view. He says fares and sponsorships will partly cover those costs.

Sittenfeld also supports creating a special improvement district to pay for the rest of the operating costs. That plan would require property owners along the route to pay higher taxes than other city property owners. Sixty percent of the affected owners would have to agree to that.

Cincinnati has spent millions of dollars to start work on the 3.6-mile streetcar line. The administration of Mark Mallory, the outgoing mayor, has said that canceling the $133 million project now could cost $30 million to $46 million on top of $33 million in work already done.

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Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com


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