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Cincinnati Council only funds SORTA for a month

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Michael Keating
/
WVXU

Cincinnati Council voted Wednesday to fund the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority for just one month in the new year.  

The action is part of the continuing battle between the city and SORTA about the use of the city’s transit fund.  

Cincinnati argues it can be used for any transit related activity.  But the agency says it’s only for Metro bus operations.  SORTA has a lawsuit pending on the issue.  

A Council Member asked City Solicitor John Curp why administrators are proposing a one-month funding ordinance.

“I believe in this instance it’s probably to express our city’s concern with how the SORTA Board is using the appropriated budget,” Curp said.

Curp also said administrators are concerned about SORTA’s lack of cooperation with its funding authority.  

The Council action follows a vote Tuesday by the transit board to insert language the city doesn’t like into an agreement on spending federal grant money to build the streetcar system.  

Council Member Charlie Winburn is opposed to the one month of funding and walked out of a committee meeting in protest before the vote.  He says it’s bad policy…

“This is not the way government ought to operate and Council ought to not be doing it,” Winburn said.  “It’s bad leadership today and I normally commend everybody for great leadership. It’s terrible leadership.  It’s not thinking it through.  You’re not being rational.”  

Meanwhile, Council officially approved a resolution Wednesday saying the city has no intentions of using the city’s transit fund to pay for any portion of the streetcar project or its operation.