Pause in streetcar construction cost Cincinnati nearly $1 million, city officials say

CINCINNATI -- A nearly three-week pause in streetcar construction in December cost Cincinnati almost $1 million, city officials said Tuesday.

Streetcar work came to a halt in December 2013 after Mayor John Cranley took office and promptly led a 5-4 vote to suspend work pending an audit.

The audit , completed by KPMG, found that canceling the project would cost up to $80.1 million and completing it would cost up to $105.7. That cancelation estimate did not include damages from potential lawsuits filed by disgruntled contractors working on the project.

After learning the city had already spent $34 million on construction, the city council voted 6-3 to move forward with the project.

Crews were back to work a day after Christmas.

According to WVXU , the pause in construction added 20 days to the project’s completion date.

The $1 million loss includes more than $637,000 for contractors, funds for the audit and money the city council appropriated when stopping work for things that needed to be done even though construction was halted, WVXU reports .

Councilman Kevin Flynn, however, said he has some skepticism about the cost of the gap in construction.

“To me it doesn’t reflect the reality of the true cost of the pause necessarily as opposed to everything that was going on,” Flynn told WVXU. “If we can get those numbers later that would be great.”

Cranley said Tuesday he didn't want to just pause the project in December, he wanted to stop it.

"We would’ve saved $40 million out of the capital budget and all of the operating costs in the future," Cranley said. "From my point of view, the most affordable option would be to stop it... The only regret I have is council changed its mind. I still think the city would be better off without it.”

Construction on the 3.6-mile loop and other streetcar work is scheduled to be finished in April 2016.

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