Supporters of the Cincinnati Streetcar project say they're not backing down. They made that very clear on Monday at a rally downtown.
A financial deadline is set for midnight on Thursday, with $45 million in federal funding on the line.
Since the streetcar work paused earlier this month,
supporters have worked to gather signatures to take the project to the polls.
"We've blown past our
initial requirement of 5,700, and well on our way towards that goal of 12,000,"
said Ryan Messer with Believe in Cincinnati.
But, this Thursday, $45 million
in federal funding in on the line, hinging on restarting the work, something
opponents hope doesn't happen.
"Once the federal government
pulls the money, it's gone. That's what we're hoping," said Tom Brinkman
If the work doesn't restart,
mayor John Cranley doesn't see a reason for the issue to go to the voters, and
only sees one way to fund the gap.
"That would require another
$45 million for the project, which would only come from tax increases," said
Last week, Cranley tasked
supporters to find money to cover operating costs. That number is said to
be about $80 million.
On Monday, FOX19 obtained this
letter, signed by six council members, including Kevin Flynn and David
Mann. Both voted to pause work on the streetcar. In it, a request
for information to make funding those operating costs more manageable.
"I think it's a commitment
on the part of all six of us to try to work through a solution that will fund
the streetcar, that will have a combination of federal dollars and private
dollars," said council member Yvette Simpson (D).
If the money from the FTA is
taken away, Messer says he's hopeful the feds will side with supporters.
"I believe they understand
this is a valuable, important resource for the future of Cincinnati, and I
believe they'll stick with us," said Messer.
City council has a meeting set
for Wednesday afternoon, and a special session set for Thursday at 2 P.M. to
talk about the streetcar. No public comment will be held on Thursday.