Cranley: Feds won't extend streetcar deadline

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Mayor John Cranley said Friday that the Federal Transit Administration won't extend the agency's Dec. 19 deadline to restart construction of the city's streetcar.

Cranley met with FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff Friday in Washington. Cranley's office said Rogoff agreed to take a call from streetcar advocates to allow them to ask for an extension.

Cranley's office said it is the FTA's position is that the city is not required to certify the streetcar operating plan until 2016.  However, if the city builds the streetcar, it will be required by the federal government to operate the system for at least 25 years.

Because of that requirement, others will have no incentive to contribute to the operating cost, Cranley's office said. The mayor's office also said a legally binding agreement to cover the system's operating costs with private funding must be in place before construction can continue.

Cranley had a news conference at City Hall on Thursday morning to encourage streetcar supporters to help find private funding to keep the yearly operating costs off the city's books.

Cranley was joined by first year councilman Kevin Flynn and representatives from four public service unions.

Cranley wanted a guarantee from supporters that none of the on-going costs end up on the city's budget. Cranley mentioned funding sources like advertising and private donations.

Cranley told FOX19 in November that the streetcar would cost $4 million a year to run.

While in Washington on Friday, Cranley was one of 16 newly elected mayors who met with President Barack Obama.

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