Budget and Finance Committee votes to proceed with Streetcar Project

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati City Council's Budget and Finance Committee voted to proceed with Cincinnati's Streetcar Project.

The committee also voted to move $500 thousand of surplus money from a Water Works project to the streetcar fund.

Monday's decision was made despite Mayor-elect John Cranley's vow to kill the project once he takes office on December 1.

Many are upset with the decision, saying the city is pumping money in to a doomed project.

"I just think it's very disrespectful to the citizens of Cincinnati who have clearly sent a mandate in this last election," explains Council Member Chris Smitherman. "It's almost like, we're going to move ahead, business as usual, and we're going to spend as much money as we can and make is as difficult as we can for the citizens of Cincinnati to unwind something that the people have said clearly they'd like to stop."

However, the streetcar's project executive John Deatrick says stopping work on the line isn't so easy.

"Construction on the streetcar has to continue until city council says stop," explains Deatrick. "As project executive I have no authority to say stop. Only city council can do that."

In the meantime, work on Cincinnati's streetcar will continue. However, Smitherman says he wouldn't be surprised if a streetcar vote is Cranley's first order of business come December 1.

At Monday's meeting, a representative from the Federal Transit Authority noted that the city would need to return the $45 million of federal funding immediately in Cranley cancels the project. The representative also stated that Cincinnati would go to the end of the line for the next time the city asks for funds.

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