Outgoing council votes to continue streetcar work

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The outgoing Cincinnati City Council made their final attempt at keeping the streetcar alive on Tuesday by passing an emergency ordinance to continue work on Phase I of the project.

In a 5-3 vote, the ordinance makes construction of the streetcar a city policy. An emergency clause was passed making the ordinance take effect immediately, rather than after 30 days.

The vote went to full council following Monday's passage by the Budget and Finance Committee.

The ordinance states streetcar construction will proceed without delay and moves $500,000 in surplus money from a Water Works project to the streetcar fund.

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls and council members Laure Quinlivan, Wendell Young, Chris Seelbach and Yvette Simpson were in favor. P.G. Sittenfeld, Charlie Winburn and Pamela Thomas said no. Christopher Smitherman wasn't at the meeting.

The re-elected Sittenfeld announced Tuesday he plans to vote to keep the streetcar construction moving. "My obligation is to make the most responsible decision given the situation as it is," he stated in part.

While he voted for the emergency order, he voted 'no' for the actual ordinance, stating he believes the fate of the streetcar should be left to the new city council members.

Tuesday was the outgoing city council's last meeting. Mayor-elect John Cranley and the new council members will be sworn in Dec. 1.

Cranley has vowed to kill the project once he takes office. In order for him to stop the project, he'll have to pass a new ordinance once the new council is in office.

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