City Council has voted to pause spending on Cincinnati streetcar - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Council votes to stop spending on Cincy streetcar

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

City council has voted 5-4 to suspend work on the project so an economic feasibility study can be done. 

Voting in favor to suspend were council members David Mann (D), Chris Smitherman (Independent), Amy Murray (R), Kevin Flynn (I) and Charlie Winburn (R).

Against the idea of suspending were council members Chris Seelbach, PG Sittenfeld, Wendell Young and Yvette Simpson, all Democrats.

A topic of debate was the release of a confidential memo Tuesday night saying essentially the city wouldn't win their fight against Duke Energy, and would have to pay the cost to relocate their utilities.  That's been said to be in the range of $15 million which would move the cost of the project from $133 million to $148, if it holds true.

After three days of back and forth in council chambers, work is done for the time being.

"Canceling the streetcar is not what's best for the city," one supporter said to council.

"A pause does not mean cancel, and it doesn't mean cancel to me," said council member Chris Smitherman.

That was an argument heard time and time again in those meetings this week.  It's an argument that was put to an end after a 5-4 vote on Wednesday.

"I think it's a good result that we're going to stop incurring additional spending related to the streetcar until we've had the independent analysis to determine the cost of continuation versus cancellation," said Mayor John Cranley.

Project leaders say it costs $100,000 a day for streetcar work. Notification efforts are now well underway to stop that. Project executive John Deatrick says he's in the process of printing letters for nine entities, all directing them to stop working.  He'll meet with contractors on Thursday.

"I knew this project was going to be a challenge when I joined up with it.  I heard the campaign rhetoric.  It wasn't as though I didn't know what might happen," said Deatrick.

It's a challenge that could be made harder by the potential loss of $45 million in federal funds.  As of right now, the FTA has frozen federal dollars until a decision is made.

On top of that, a memo sent today by the acting city manager Scott Stiles estimates the cost of pausing work at around $3 million.

"My hope is that the FTA continues to allow us to have the funding while this research is done," said council member Yvette Simpson (D).

Though the work is on hold, Cranley who has vowed to kill the entire project, believes the cost of continuing is much higher than canceling.

"I've said publicly, I think the costs to cancel are significantly less by, probably, $100 million dollars, than to continue," said Cranley.

Deatrick says some utility work will continue. But, those companies will be notified that they won't be reimbursed during this work stoppage. 

As far as Tuesday's leaked memo goes, council member Chris Seelbach called for prosecution of the person who leaked it.

Cranley told FOX19 interim city manager Scott Stiles is charged with hiring people for an independent analysis. After that's done, he expects council to come back and make a final decision on the project.

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.

  • FOX19 HeadlinesMore>>

  • Macron to push Trump on Iran deal, says there's no 'Plan B'

    Macron to push Trump on Iran deal, says there's no 'Plan B'

    Sunday, April 22 2018 11:04 AM EDT2018-04-22 15:04:45 GMT
    Monday, April 23 2018 1:57 AM EDT2018-04-23 05:57:36 GMT
    (AP Photo/Michel Euler). France's President Emmanuel Macron walks out of the lobby of the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday, April 20, 2018, to welcome Senegalese President Macky Sall. Senegalese President Macky Sall is in France for a five-day visit.(AP Photo/Michel Euler). France's President Emmanuel Macron walks out of the lobby of the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday, April 20, 2018, to welcome Senegalese President Macky Sall. Senegalese President Macky Sall is in France for a five-day visit.

    French President Emmanuel Macron is urging U.S. President Donald Trump to stick with the Iranian nuclear accord, arguing that there's no "Plan B".

    Full Story >

    French President Emmanuel Macron is urging U.S. President Donald Trump to stick with the Iranian nuclear accord, arguing that there's no "Plan B".

    Full Story >
  • White House: No plans by Trump to fire Mueller, Rosenstein

    White House: No plans by Trump to fire Mueller, Rosenstein

    Sunday, April 22 2018 2:05 PM EDT2018-04-22 18:05:12 GMT
    Monday, April 23 2018 1:48 AM EDT2018-04-23 05:48:30 GMT
    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2016, file photo, then-President-elect Donald Trump, right, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani pose for photographs as Giuliani arrives at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse i...(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2016, file photo, then-President-elect Donald Trump, right, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani pose for photographs as Giuliani arrives at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse i...

    The White House says President Donald Trump has no intention of firing special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

    Full Story >

    The White House says President Donald Trump has no intention of firing special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

    Full Story >
  • Despite denials, lobbyist tied to condo met with EPA chief

    Despite denials, lobbyist tied to condo met with EPA chief

    Sunday, April 22 2018 12:24 AM EDT2018-04-22 04:24:34 GMT
    Monday, April 23 2018 1:48 AM EDT2018-04-23 05:48:02 GMT
    (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File). FILE - In this Tuesday, April 3, 2018, file photo, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt attends a news conference at the EPA in Washington, on his decision to scrap Obama administration fuel standar...(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File). FILE - In this Tuesday, April 3, 2018, file photo, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt attends a news conference at the EPA in Washington, on his decision to scrap Obama administration fuel standar...

    In spite of denials, EPA chief Scott Pruitt did meet in his office last year with a veteran Washington lobbyist tied to the bargain-priced condo where he was living.

    Full Story >

    In spite of denials, EPA chief Scott Pruitt did meet in his office last year with a veteran Washington lobbyist tied to the bargain-priced condo where he was living.

    Full Story >
Powered by Frankly