Monday, June 24, 2013

Qualls gives "blank check" to City Manager for Streetcar

After major pronouncements in February that Council had not given a "blank check" to the City Manager to build the Cincinnati Streetcar, City Council -- led by Roxanne Qualls' Finance Committee -- today voted to do just that.

For they voted not just to spend an additional $17.4 million the City does not have on the boondoggle project, but they voted to proceed with the project without any realistic idea of what it will cost to finish it.

Remember, the Messer Construction bid was $37.3 million over budget, and it was only with re-engineering that the City brought the latest of many overruns down to $17.4 million.  However, the US Department of Transportation's latest gift of $5 million for the project last Friday came with significant strings attached, namely restoration of expensive bells and whistles to the projecting, driving that cost back up, likely more than the $5 million grant.

Further, the Messer bid long ago expired, meaning the City is at their mercy to determine the actual cost of construction.

Thus, the City has decided to proceed with the Streetcar project knowing with a degree of certainty that it is more than $17.4 million over budget, and having no idea how high that number really will go.

Add that to the fact that the City has promised that the project will -- apparently magically -- climb up Vine Street hill, and you know that the City in fact has given the City Manager he proverbial "blank check" to unlimited spending on Cincinnati's toy train.

Choo choo!!!

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