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Council Vote Allows Construction to Resume

CINCINNATI (Joe Webb) -- After one of the most contentious debates in years, Cincinnati city council votes to move forward with the 133 million dollar streetcar.

Thursday's 6-3 vote ends weeks of upheaval that saw the project halted mid-construction.  It was a last minute deal on operating costs that swung the final vote in favor of the streetcar.

Newcomer to council, Kevin Flynn, who hasn't even been on council a month, got a 9 million dollar commitment over 9 years from the Haile Foundation to cover operating costs.  That sealed Flynn's vote, and sealed the deal for the streetcar.

The 6-3 vote killed Mayor Cranley's promise of a veto.  He graciously admitted defeat Thursday afternoon and joined Kevin Flynn for a news conference before the city council meeting.

Council members were equally as gracious.  The six victors promised not to gloat; the three on the losing side vowed to be watchdogs on the streetcar project.  All agreed that a lot of energy and even some anger had been spent on the last few weeks on this controversial project.  Everyone on council seemed ready to move forward and to get to work.

Mayor John Cranley says he is still very opposed to the streetcar and will not sign the ordinance that was passed Thursday in the 6-3 vote.  Without his signature the ordinance will take effect in four days. 

That means the ordinance is past the Thursday midnight deadline set in place by the FTA for the 44 million dollars in federal money.  However, Thursday afternoon the FTA sent an email commending the city for moving forward so it appears, at this time, the 44 million dollars in federal money is secure. 

Streetcars could be running along the 3.6 mile loop between Findlay Market and The Banks by the end of 2016.  There will be 18 stops along the first phase of the route.  The streetcar will operate 18 hours a day, 365 days a year.




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