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Cincinnati - February 2007

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Cincinnati — Streetcar Study

Rail Transit Online, February 2007

The city has hired consultant HDR Inc. to conduct a six-month, $160,000 study of a proposed  streetcar link between the riverfront, the downtown business district and the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.  The initial segment would be three or four miles (4.8-6.4 km) long and may include an extension to the University of Cincinnati and the city hospital complex.  The proposal has been under consideration for several years and has generated increasing political support because of its potential to stimulate redevelopment.  “The city has a great need for a more complete, holistic transportation system,” city councilman Chris Bortz told The Enquirer.  “Buses and roads just don't get it done.  We need to create a city that's easy to get around in.”  Bortz said most council members and Mayor Mark Mallory support the streetcar if it can be funded without new taxes.  The HDR study is expected to recommend an alignment, estimate construction and operating costs and suggest a financing plan.  If city officials decide to move ahead with the project, it could later be expanded into other city neighborhoods to the east and west and possibly into northern Kentucky.

Meanwhile, elected leaders in Cincinnati and Hamilton County are forming a task force to examine all aspects of public transportation in the region.  The group will look at whether to expand the service area of the existing transit system, whether rail modes should be considered and whether there should be a regional approach to funding.  Currently, a city earnings tax is the only dedicated source of financing. 


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