Monday, June 15, 2009

Partnership selected to manage streetcar project

In front of a crowd of supporters, neigborhood residents and government officials at Rookwood Pottery in Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati city manager Milton Dohoney Jr. announced that the City has selected Cincinnati Streetcar Development Partners to work with the City to design, build, operate, and maintain its proposed streetcar system.

The partnership emerged as the winner out of four bidders in the City's Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process, all of which had international experience, including URS Corporation, Herzog Contracting Corp., and Bombardier.

Dohoney said that City administration was very impressed with what the partnership brought to the table.

"The competition was very strong," he said. "We were certainly heartened by the fact that organizations with international experience would be interested in working on the streetcar project in Cincinnati, but we were certainly struck by the Streetcar Partners' enthusiasm, the fact that they had thought it through, they talked to us about how they would approach building it. They have expertise in communications and planning. They have an attention to detail."

Cincinnati Streetcar Development Partners is a consortium of 12 companies, including:

Stacy and Witbeck will open a local office and serve as general contractor, and Fred Craig of Parsons Brinckerhoff will serve as lead program manager.

'A world-class team'

Ten of the partnership's member companies are small- or minority-owned, local businesses.

"This City really does have a world-class team standing before it," Craig said. "You'll notice, however, that most of the people standing behind me are Cincinnatians. And that is one of the things that made us really look at how we were going to do this project. And that is – to do it for Cincinnati, with Cincinnatians."

Craig said that the partnership represents the construction and design capabilities of about 80 percent of the streetcar and light rail projects in the United States, including projects in San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, Portland and Seattle.

Locally, the partners have worked on such projects as Great American Ball Park, Fort Washington Way, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

"That kind of credentials are very difficult to compete with," Craig said. "And we have a City administration, and a city manager, and a mayor, and city council who are taking this City's future seriously.


The next step will involve negotiating a contract with the partnership – and then continuing work on a financing plan.

Dohoney said that the City has $78 million in funding requests submitted to federal programs, including the Federal Streetcar Revitalization Act of 2009, on which City administration has consulted.

"This project cannot be built without federal assistance," he said. "The federal administration has endorsed infrastructure, green development, and training. The streetcar is all of those things. They are allocating money for these projects now. Therefore, it is timely for us to be in pursuit of it."

Donations also are being taken online at a dedicated streetcar page, and Craig asked everyone in attendance to "go out and make a convert".

"I believe today that all of you are our partners as well," Craig said. "Because, in order for this project to work, to support the City administration and to help us get the project built, we'll need every one of us and a thousand more. It should be a partnership between our community, a partnership with the City of Cincinnati, and it should be a partnership with the citizens of our community who really want to see this happen."

Bold projects equal growth

Cincinnati mayor Mark Mallory, noting that he cannot imagine another Midwestern city that is seeing so much progress in such a short period of time, said that it's time to take the next step to building "a greater, brighter future for the City of Cincinnati".

"A new streetcar system in the City of Cincinnati will lead to new development along the streetcar route," he said. "It will bring new businesses, it will bring new jobs, new housing, and new people to the City of Cincinnati. It's really all about growth."

If Cincinnati's going to continue to be a great city in which to live, it's our responsibility to grow it, Mallory said.

"Across the country, the cities that are growing are the cities that take on big challenges, the ones that take on bold projects," he said. "We can't sit back in Cincinnati and expect that to happen. We have to put forth the effort. We have to make sure that we're acting responsibly for future generations."

Previous reading on BC:
Cincinnatians for Progress has new website, endorsements; two-thirds of way to ballot (6/9/09)
Give Back Cincinnati sessions to focus on streetcars (1/29/09)
City will issue RFP for Uptown streetcar route analysis (1/26/09)
Corryville homeowner says Kroger redevelopment would hinder streetcar (8/6/08)
Streetcar: W Clifton or Vine? (7/29/08)