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.