City Votes to Move Ahead with Streetcar Project

(CINCINNATI) -- Cincinnati City Council voted 6 - 2 Wednesday afternoon to move ahead with the downtown streetcar project.

The language in the motion allows the city manager to work on finding money for construction, operations, and maintenance of the system.

The first phase of construction would link downtown Cincinnati with the Uptown area.

If the city goes ahead with construction, the streetcars could be running in 2011.

Previous Story:

Cincinnati city council could take another step Wednesday toward bringing streetcars back to downtown.

In just a few years, you may be able to leave a Reds game and hop on a streetcar to hit a bar or restaurant in Over the Rhine, part of a grand plan to revitalize a downtown that's been all but dead for years now. But before that can happen, a lot of questions remain about how to pay for it.

Buses won't be taking a back seat when it comes to commuters. Supporters of the street car plan like city councilman Chris Bortz say street cars aren't about rush hour, that's what buses are for.

Tracks that will run down main street to 12th and then turn over toward Findlay market and onto Music Hall, and eventually go uptown all the way to Clifton. They're meant to encourage development, and get young, rich executives to move downtown and stay there.

that's exactly the kind of people Mark Fogarty is trying to attract at Cue, a hip pool hall and bar. They opened last November and are vowing to hang on until the streetcar project hopefully attracts more people.

But councilman Chris Monzel worries about how the city will pay the estimated $100 million  price tag, without any federal funds in phase one.

Insiders tell us it'll take until early next year for anything official, but if that happens, the first phase could be up and running as early as three years from now.

The finance committee will discuss the plan Wednesday morning, and if it passes, it will move to a vote in full council later in the day. Steve Oldfield