As City Council prepares to make a crucial vote on whether to “pause” or continue the streetcar project, designer Giacomo Ciminello compiled a visual of the costs for both pausing and continuing with the project. The initial estimate shows a $400,000 difference between the two options. However with one option, $147 million will result in a streetcar and the other option would leave taxpayers footing a $147 million cancellation bill to have nothing built.
Council argues the $3-4 million annual operating costs of the streetcar rationalize their decision to spend the same amount of money to cancel the streetcar than to complete it, as they would be saving money in the long run. Earlier this week, project executives explained many options to pay for operating costs which would remove the burden from the city budget, and even allow the streetcar to operate “in the black,” turning a profit.
The vote on “pausing” the streetcar will not only define Cincinnati’s view on progress, but also on fiscal responsibility.
Streetcar Project Executive, John Deatrick, will be giving his estimate of the cost to cancel the Cincinnati Streetcar at a special meeting of the Finance Committee, Thursday, November 21, at 12:00pm.
Open to the public, the presentation will take place at City Hall in council chambers on the Third Floor. There will be no public comment taken but supporters are encouraged to attend.
(extra seating in the gallery, Fourth Floor)
In a recent interview with CityBeat about the streetcar, Cincinnati mayoral candidate, John Cranley stated:
“Stop the reckless spending. Eight weeks between now and the swearing in of the next mayor is not going to change anything for their schedule, but it wastes money if I’m elected.”
Delaying a construction project is not as simple as turning off a light switch. In fact, it would cost more money to temporarily halt the project than by allowing it to continue. From compensating construction workers to rescheduling pending equipment rentals and supply deliveries, here’s a breakdown of what’s involved in the process of an 8-week delay:
This is just more good news on top of the additional $5 million federal grant for the project and the ongoing utility relocation work. Once this contract is signed work can begin on other elements of the project including track and overhead wire work.
Additional information, about construction work on the Cincinnati Streetcar Maintenance Facility, will also reportedly be issued in the near future. But for now, here’s the update from City Manager Dohoney:
With City Council’s approval of $17.4 million, as well as the award of an additional $5 million in federal dollars in funding to the streetcar project, the streetcar project is sufficiently funded to proceed with the award of a construction contract to Messer/Prus/Delta Railroad JV (MPD), the low bidder.
The Administration is in the final stages of those discussions and we expect that to be executed in the immediate future.
The project team has been meeting regularly with MPD to discuss additional cost and schedule changes related to the delay between the anticipated Notice to Proceed (NTP) date of April 8, 2013 and the new award date.
MPD has requested additional funding in the amount of $492,933 related to increased costs for materials and labor resulting from this delay. This is covered in the current project budget.
As discussed before Council, the Administration was not able to negotiate the final contract provisions and associated costs until the money was available. No reductions to contract scope are included in this contract.
We’re very glad that the MPD team has remained committed over the last few months and it underscores our confidence that they are the right choice for our project.
The project team has reviewed MPD’s request and has concluded that the costs are reasonable and represent estimated costs associated with the delay in contract award, as well as the risk that Messer and City are willing to take due to this delay.