Monday, September 10, 2012

Consultant sought to work with streetcar manufacturer

The City of Cincinnati has issued a request for proposals for qualified consultants to provide project management services in conjunction with preferred streetcar manufacturer CAF USA.

The City remains in talks with CAF USA on a $20.5 million contract for five modern streetcar vehicles and could issue a notice to proceed with vehicle production, which will be assembled at the company's facility in Elmira, N.Y., this November.

Written, sealed proposals are due by 3 P.M. on September 21.

When fully operational in summer 2015, the first phase of the $110 million streetcar project will serve an area between The Banks and Findlay Market. A request for federal funds has been submitted to study a connection to the University of Cincinnati, Uptown's hospitals, and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

Legal remedy over utilities?

In an August 28 memo to City Council, City Manager Milton Dohoney wrote that the only major sticking point remains the impasse between the City and Duke Energy over the cost of utility relocation along the route.

"While the City and Duke have agreed on a three-foot zone of influence within which Duke may need to relocate its facilities, Duke has refused to perform the required design and engineering work needed to allow the City to schedule and bid construction of the streetcar track pending resolution of its proposal to pass relocation costs on to City rate payers as part of its rate case before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio," he said. "This refusal threatens to pose significant cost risk as well as schedule risk to the construction of the streetcar system."

The City maintains that Duke Energy is responsible under state law for bearing the full cost of the relocation work, Dohoney said.

"The City is investigating potential legal remedy to the situation as well as potential stopgap funding mechanisms that will allow work to continue while cost sharing issues are resolved at a later time," he said. "This strategy has proven successful in other streetcar cities."

Dohoney also revealed that the City has executed a contract with Nineteen Ten Elm St LLC for the purchase of property at 1910 Elm Street for the system's maintenance and operations facility, avoiding a possible eminent domain action.

Previous reading on BC:
Blue Ash considering restructuring of airport deal (8/6/12)
City declares intent to acquire properties for streetcar facility (5/7/12)
UC lecture to examine broader effects of streetcar project (5/1/12)
Cincinnati selects preferred vendor for streetcar vehicles (4/11/12)
Streetcar team to hold DBE outreach on Thursday (3/20/12)