Streetcar project takes next step toward development - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Streetcar project takes next step toward development

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. announced Tuesday that the Cincinnati Streetcar project has passed the next set of "greenlights" as the project moves forward.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) found the Cincinnati streetcar will have no significant environmental impact along the route.  In addition, the City and the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA), which operates Metro buses, also reached an agreement for the local transit agency to receive all federal monies for the project. 

The "finding of no significant impact" (FONSI) from the FTA means the streetcar will not have a negative impact on the people or buildings along the route.  The FONSI clears the way for the streetcar project to use the $29 million of federal money already allocated. It also allows the project team to begin the next steps in bidding out work for the general contractors and the cars themselves. 

"The federal government has examined the project and given it a full green light," said City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr.  

SORTA has agreed to serve as the designated recipient for all federal funds for the streetcar and to oversee the use of federal dollars in compliance with FTA requirements. The City's goal is for Metro to serve as the operator for the streetcar system, allowing Metro to seamlessly integrate its bus system with the streetcar lines as they are developed. 

The first segment of the streetcar system will have five cars running along a three-mile route from Fountain Square to Findlay Market.

The City has already identified more than $4 million in annual funding sources to cover the anticipated $2.5 million operating and maintenance costs for the system. The City has committed to the streetcar line running from The Banks to Uptown, the area around the University of Cincinnati, hospitals and zoo.

The City is exploring the possibility of using a battery-powered hybrid streetcar that could lower the total cost of the project.

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