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Council Members Tour Streetcar Ahead Of Testing

Six members of Cincinnati council toured the streetcar and maintenance facility Friday afternoon, a week after the delivery of the first vehicle. 

Council member Amy Murray, who chairs the Major Transportation Committee, originally opposed the project.

“Once council decided that they were going forward with this streetcar and Mayor (John) Cranley made me chair of major transportation, tax dollars were already being spent," Murray says. "I said I’m going to do what it takes to have this be as successful as possible and come in on-time and on-budget. So I think the last two years we’ve really been able to look all of the issues with this streetcar, deal with things as they happen, stay on top of things, and not have additional dollars needed to be spent on it.”

Murray says the streetcar has produced a lot of strong feelings.

“As the streetcar has come, people that really were supportive of the streetcar are very excited about it," Murray says. "I think people who didn’t want it initially are still skeptical. And I think probably they’ll be until we see ridership and if people are riding it.”

Council member Charlie Winburn was also on the tour.  He’s been an outspoken critic of the project.

  “I voted against every streetcar vote," Winburn says. "But my role here today is leadership. It’s to be here to make sure that taxpayer’s money is going in the right place. And so far, it looks pretty good.”

Testing on the rails and the vehicle will begin this Sunday, as the streetcar will be towed along the entire the entire 3.6 mile track.  Metro warns that police will escort the streetcar and the tow vehicle; and will block intersections as necessary.

Four more streetcars are under construction and are scheduled to be delivered at the rate of one a month. Operations are not expected to start until next September.