Grether Appointed as Streetcar Manager
As reported by Progressive Railroading, Cincinnati Metro has selected Paul Grether as manager for the agency's currently under construction streetcar project. Grether will have responsibility for streetcar operations, maintenace of the cars, training, and other responsibilities documented in the operating agreement being negotiated between the city and Metro.
Grether is a long time member of the APTA Streetcar Subcommittee and has attended many meetings in that capactiy. Before his move to Cincinnati Grether was in Atlanta where he played a leading role in Atlanta's currently under-construction 2.7-mile streetcar line. At MARTA he coordinated relations witih the Downtown Improvement District and also was responsible for the project's National Environmental Policy Act process.
Grether has served as president of the Southeastern Railway Museum.
Duke Energy Ratepayers May Face Streetcar Cost
A new development in the long running dispute between the city and Duke Energy about relocating utility lines along the planned streetcar route, has Duke notifying the Ohio Public Utilities Commissioin that it will seek to recover the estimated $12 million relocation cost from ratepayers or local government.
Cincinnati.com reports that Duke's position has been for the city to pick up the relocation costs, instead of passing it on to utility customers. However, if the city does not pay, Duke plans to request that only ratepayers within the city of Cincinnati bear the cost, rather than allocating it to all customers in the region.
Duke management had initially estimated the relocation cost at $18.7 million, assuming a generous spacing between utility lines and the tracks. The city budgeted only $6 million for this phase of the project. However, after Duke officials visited streetcar lines in Portland and Washington they agreed that a distance of less than eight feet separation from the track would be possible, dropping the estimate to $12 million. The city hopes the separation can be limited to three feet. A more precise estimate of the relocation cost will be provided once engineering is complete.
Duke's proposal to pass the cost on to city ratepayers will likely be filed within a month, with reviews and hearings stretching into early 2013.