Cincinnati Council Stops Spending on Streetcar Line under Construction

Cincinnati’s sharply divided city council voted 5-4 to stop funding on a $133 million streetcar project, citing concerns about the price tag, while an analysis is done on whether it would be more expensive to finish construction or halt the project.

The city has spent more than $23 million on the 3.6-mile line and has another $94 million obligated in contracts, although it’s unclear how much of that would have to be paid if the project is axed. John Deatrick, an executive of the streetcar project for the city, estimated that stopping the project would cost the city up to $47 million. The city also would lose out on $44.9 million in federal grants.

The vote came after bitter back-and-forth among newly sworn-in Mayor John Cranley, who ran on a promise to stop the streetcar, and council members who support it. Cranley described his victory as proof that voters agree with him, although the issue survived two voter referendums and numerous financial hurdles.

(more on Cincinnati's stalled street car . . . )