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Tuesday, May 18, 2010


The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority board of trustees today voted to authorize the transit authority to serve as a partner in developing an operating plan for the streetcar system and ultimately to serve as the operator of the Cincinnati streetcar if an agreement can be reached. SORTA operates Metro transit and Access paratransit services in Greater Cincinnati.

The decision is subject to the City of Cincinnati and SORTA entering into a mutually agreed upon operating plan and working together on a comprehensive community engagement program. The SORTA board will vote again after the completion of these processes to make a final decision on the operation of the streetcar. The City will also review these before finalizing a decision on the operator.

There are several advantages to the City/SORTA streetcar partnership:
· As the designated recipient of federal transit funding for the Greater Cincinnati area, SORTA can assist in leveraging federal grant dollars for the project and can serve as the conduit for those funds.
· The streetcar operating plan can be closely coordinated with Metro bus service to maximize efficiency and reduce costs.
· Metro’s proposed university transit center can be developed to serve as a connection point for the streetcar, Metro service, and the many shuttles in the uptown area.

“The streetcar is a city economic development tool of regional importance, but it’s also a transportation mode that must be integrated with current transit service and operated efficiently and effectively,” said Melody Sawyer Richardson, chair of the

SORTA board. “SORTA will bring extensive transit expertise and understanding to the project, as we work with the city and the community to develop the best possible streetcar operating plan. The City Manager has assured SORTA that his recommendations for funding will not include taking City earnings tax revenue that SORTA receives to operate Metro and Access.”

“With more than two-thirds of the funding for the streetcar system in place, we are in a good position to further develop the operating plan for the streetcar system’s long-term sustainability,” said City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. “We are glad to pull on SORTA’s transportation expertise and resources to make that happen as quickly as possible.”

SORTA operates Metro and Access non-profit, tax-funded public transit services, providing about 19 million rides per year in Greater Cincinnati.

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