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Metro Releases Estimated Costs To Run Streetcar

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SORTA

Metro estimates it will cost $4 million to $4.7 million to operate Cincinnati's streetcar in its first year.

The estimates vary depending on whether the system is run by union SORTA (Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority) employees or a private contractor.

According to the SORTA report, the cheaper option of $4 million would be the private contractor.City council members are likely to debate this over the next few weeks, but, in the end, the SORTA board will have the final word on who gets the contract. Council members have been told in the past that it would cost approximately $4.2 million to operate the system.

SORTA's estimates a private, or turn-key, contractor would cost $4,037,135 in the first year. The estimate for unionized employees, or a 'management contract,' is $4,714,734.

The report released by SORTA requested that "city council provide guidance regarding the preferred method by the end of June." 

The report said SORTA must award the contract in July to meet deadlines related to the first delivery of streetcar vehicles in September. 

Turn-key contract: All employees are employed by the private-sector contractor; contract is fixed price. · Management contract: The contractor would manage service for a fixed price. At an additional cost, SORTA would provide some public-sector employees. Exact costs cannot be known until a union contract could be executed, since these employees would not be covered under SORTA’s current contract with ATU Local 627.

The five Democrats on council, led by Vice Mayor David Mann, have said they'd prefer the union operate the system. Council's four other members have said they favor cutting operating hours if the cost was more than $4.2 million.

SORTA still isn't releasing the names of private companies that submitted bids.