It’s a Streetcar, not a Trolley

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Have you heard people referring to the Cincinnati Streetcar as a “trolley?” It’s a dated and inaccurate term. Here’s why:

What Is A Trolley

Streetcar Project Status: January 2013

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This message is a guest post from the City of Cincinnati

There’s been much progress on the Cincinnati Streetcar project in the past few months.

Here are some details about what’s been accomplished and what’s upcoming:


Final design for the entire 2nd Street to Henry Street route was completed in September 2012.

While final design for the 5th to Henry route was completed in late 2011, the announcement of a $10.92 million TIGER 3 grant from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) in December 2011 enabled the extension of the route to The Banks at 2nd Street and required additional design work to be completed before the project could go to bid. That work culminated in September 2012, with the completion of final design for the entire 2nd to Henry route, including all trackwork, traction power, project-performed utility work, and the maintenance and operations facility (MOF).

Construction Procurement

With the completion of final design and real estate acquisition, the City issued a Notice of Invitation to Bid for the general construction of the streetcar system on November 15, 2012. Bids are due on February 8, 2013 and a pre-bid meeting was held on December 12, 2012. Over 60 vendors attended the pre-bid meeting and over 80 vendors have requested copies of the bid documents from the City Purchasing Division, indicating a high level of interest from the contracting community.

Vehicle Procurement

In October 2012, the City completed the FTA-required pre-award Buy America certification for CAF USA, the selected streetcar vehicle manufacturer, and following contract negotiations, executed a contract with CAF USA in December 2012 to purchase five modern streetcars. In November 2012, the City also selected LTK Engineering through an RFP procurement for a vehicle project management consultant. The City is in the contract negotiations with LTK and will execute a contract in January 2013 for assistance with oversight of the streetcar vehicle production.

Real Estate Acquisition

In September 2012, the City executed a Purchase and Sale Agreement to acquire the site of the MOF for the streetcar system, located at the corner of Race and Henry Streets at the northern end of the Phase 1 route. The City closed on the property in November 2012.


Following the completion of final design and the acquisition of the MOF site, the City received approval from the City’s Historic Conservation Board for demolition activities and construction of the MOF in October 2012. This approval enabled the City to apply for the general building permits required to construct the project.


Third party agreements with Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW), Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSDGC), Level 3 Communications, and Cincinnati Bell were all completed in 2012. In February of 2012, GCWW began construction on relocation of water lines in Over-the-Rhine. This work has progressed throughout 2012 and is expected to be complete in early 2013. MSDGC, Cincinnati Bell, and Level 3 Communications are in the process of obtaining construction permits from the City and are planning to begin their respective relocation work in early 2013.

The City continues to meet regularly with Duke Energy in order to commence Duke’s relocation work.

Remaining utility relocation work, including additional MSDGC relocation and GCWW relocation in the Central Business District (CBD) will be performed by the project as part of the general construction contract currently out to bid.


The City and SORTA completed execution of the TIGER 3 grant agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and USDOT in December 2012. With this action, all federal grants for the project have been fully committed.

Expenditures to Date

Through December 31, 2012, approximately $42 million has been spent. This number represents approximately $17.1 million in expenditures already paid out, as well as approximately $24.9 million in expenses that the project is contractually obligated to fulfill.