First Phase Shorter, Long-term Vision the Same: Riverfront to the Zoo
Today, Mayor Mark Mallory and City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. announced a revised construction plan for the Cincinnati Streetcar project that will use the $99 million in funding that has already been identified and secured. Under the adjusted plan, the City will move forward with a $95 million, four-mile, first segment of the Streetcar line from Fountain Square to Findlay Market.
“The vision for the project remains the same. We are going to build a Streetcar that connects Downtown to Uptown and then we are going to build out into the neighborhoods,” Mayor Mark Mallory said. “We are going to get started with the funding that we have in hand. We must move forward in order to attract jobs and residents to our region.”
The Mayor and Manager explained that it would cost $9 million to extend the Streetcar line from Fountain Square to The Banks. They are continuing to explore additional funding options in order to get to The Banks during construction of the first segment.
Even as the City begins building the first segment of the Streetcar system, planning will begin on the second segment, which will go up Vine Street and around the Uptown, university and hospital area. The City will continue to pursue additional funding for the second segment. In the future, additional connections into more neighborhoods are envisioned as part of a city-wide system.
“We know that 80 other cities across the country are in the planning stages of a streetcar system. We know that we are losing young professionals to cities that have urban amenities. We know that Cincinnati has more than 500 vacant buildings in Over-the-Rhine and as well as 92 acres of land devoted to parking. When you look at the big picture, we have need and capacity for growth,” City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. said.
The streetcar will run 18 hours a day, 365 days a year. SORTA will be the operator, and the line will have five cars. The first segment is expected to create more than 300 construction jobs and 25 permanent jobs needed for ongoing operations.
The Mayor and City Manager explained how the estimated $2.5 million annual operating cost for the first segment would be funded, emphasizing that no General Fund operating dollars would be used. In fact, the operations plan identifies far more that the needed $2.5 million in order to build an operations reserve that will further protect the General Fund. This will ensure that the Streetcar never competes for funding with essential services such as police and fire protection or trash pick-up. The funding sources include.
• Casino revenue – $3 million
• Parking Meter revenue $400,000
• Fare Box – $465,000 – $675,000
• Naming rights, Sponsored stops – $200,000
The next steps in the project include, finalizing the final engineering design of the project, completing the federal environmental process, working with utility companies on relocation issues, selecting the Streetcar vehicle. The City is now exploring the possibility of using a battery-powered hybrid Streetcar that could lower the total cost of the project.
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