Duke Energy wins Cincy streetcar cost spat

Written by Douglas John Bowen
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Cincinnati has been assigned the fiscal streetcar burden foisted on other cities, in its case by a judge declaring Duke Energy is not responsible for the cost of moving utilities under streetcar rights-of-way in the city.

The move, announced Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, forces the city to swallow roughly $15 million in additional costs, driving the estimated total cost of the project, now under construction, to $148 million.

The city is expected to appeal the decision, though local observers acknowledge a reversal of the court decision is unlikely. “If we lose, Cincinnati will have to pay,” one source noted Wednesday.

Utility relocation costs have plagued other U.S. cities, notably Milwaukee, where legislative and executive actions, not court decisions, placed the burden of such relocation work on municipal funding sources.