Cranley talks alternative plans to streetcar project

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - John Cranley is Cincinnati's new mayor. He stopped by the FOX19 Morning News Thursday for some tough questions with Rob Williams.

Rob asked Cranley how serious he was about his campaign to put the brakes on the streetcar project.

Cranley said it is a financial decision because the city has reportedly spent $25 million on the project thus far. He stated Cincinnati would have to spend an additional $100 million to finish the project.

We previously reported a breakdown of the numbers to see if the cost of stopping the project would outweigh the cost of keeping the project on the rails. If he's able to stop the streetcar, $2 million in federal grant money already spent must be refunded to the government, plus the total amount spent to date.

Cranley had a post-election chat with President Barack Obama's Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. He asked Jarrett for a meeting about re-positioning the streetcar funds to revamp the Martin Luther King/I-71 interchange, which would be transformative for the Clifton/Uptown areas.

Cranley reports that Jarrett said she'd be happy to discuss it with him. During his interview Thursday morning, he also talked about some suggested streetcar alternatives like bike share and a hop-on trolley.

However, supporters of the streetcar project are disappointed to hear about a push to change the money.

"It's not really that easy. It's going to take an act of Congress to divert the funds," said Mike Moroski of Cincinnatians for Progress and a candidate for Cincinnati City Council this past election.

"I got my stick out of the mud a long time ago when I moved back to Cincinnati, and I encourage other citizens to do the same because I think we can have a wonderful thing here in the city," added another project supporter Karen Blatt.

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