Friday, December 27, 2013

Cincinnati streetcar construction resumes

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Pro-streetcar supporters served coffee and breakfast snacks to workers resuming construction Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, on Cincinnati's controversial streetcar line, now proceeding once more following a reaffirmation of the project by the City Council.

Observers of the Queen City said the show of support was the coda to a six-week effort among pro-rail forces that showed impressive coordination and effectiveness, touching base with key players ranging from local citizenry to the Federal Transit Administration.

"It was so well organized, well executed and well populated," Gene Beaupre, a Xavier University professor, told local media. "I've never seen (a movement) that effective in terms of every aspect."

A crew from Delta Railroad Thursday unloaded sections of rail in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood as work resumed on the 3.6-mile, $133 million project. Work was halted Dec. 4 per the wishes of newly elected Mayor John Cranley, who had intended to scuttle the project.

Unnamed private sources organized by The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation (Haile Foundation) will cover up to $900,000 of the estimated $3.5 million annual operating cost for the first 10 years of streetcar operation. The line is slated to open in September 2016.