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Cost of Stopping Street Car Project Explained
CINCINNATI (Joe Webb) -- Stopping the Cincinnati streetcar project would take a lot of time and a lot of money the project executive told City Councils Budget and Finance Committee Thursday afternoon.
John Deatrick said $32.8 million dollars will have been spent on the project by the end of November. He said cancellation and close out costs would tack on another $30-$48-million.
When the loss of $45-million in federal grant money is added on to that, the total tab for killing the streetcar could be around $125-million.
The total budget for building phase one of the streetcar is $147.8-million.
The committee meeting was chaired by outgoing Vice-Mayor Roxanne Qualls. Qualls was soundly defeated in the Mayors race by John Cranley who campaigned to kill the streetcar project.
Basically, in essence what this is saying is you could end up in a situation where you stopped the project you would actually spend almost as much in terms of local dollars for stopping the project as it would cost in local dollars to construct the project. Is that what youre saying?" Qualls asked budget director Lea Eriksen who assisted Deatrick with the presentation.
Um, yes, Eriksen replied while Deatrick nodded.
Deatrick said stopping the project would take 6 months to a year to accomplish. He said it would damage the citys reputation in the development community and eliminate the potential of more than a half-billion dollars in increased property taxes over the next 35 years.
The presentation fell on sympathetic ears. Four of the streetcars staunchest supporters sit on the committee. But three newly-elected council members, who ran on an anti-streetcar platform, were in the crowd for todays meeting.
David Mann said he supports pausing the project until more objective analysis can be done. Council member-elect Amy Murray told reporters she doesnt believe Deatricks numbers and still believes the city cant afford the streetcar.
Mayor-elect John Cranley says the numbers given today are exaggerated. He wants an outside consultant to take a closer look.
Despite the discussion, crews were ripping up pavement and laying tracks along Elm Street Thursday.