Cincinnati’s long-planned proposal to build a streetcar line advanced last week despite opposition from Ohio’s new Republican governor, John Kasich. Mayor Mark Mallory announced last week that the city would begin work on the $95 million, four-mile first segment of the line.
The announcement comes despite Kasich’s rejection of federal funds for the project and after a state transportation panel followed the governor’s recommendation to deny the city $52 million in expected state funding. Mallory said the city will move forward with the first section of the project with the $99.5 million of money already secured.
The city plans to issue $64 million of bonds for the project. Other revenues include a $25 million federal grant and $6.5 million of private funding.
Mallory said the city would begin identifying new financing for the second stage. Annual operating costs are pegged at $2.5 million, for which Cincinnati will tap casino, parking meter and fare box revenue, as well as selling naming rights.
“The vision for the project remains the same,” Mallory said in a statement. “We are going to build a streetcar that connects downtown to uptown and then we are going to build out into the neighborhoods.”