July 1, 2015 – Late this afternoon, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 627, the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council and a city resident, filed an Action in Mandamus and Temporary Restraining Order Injunction against the City of Cincinnati and the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) regarding the Cincinnati Streetcar and its’ operations.
This action is about public trust, transparency and greater accountability concerning this important Cincinnati taxpayer-funded public project. The City and SORTA are obligated to follow the terms of their Intergovernmental Operations agreement, and related ordinances and motions. Despite the support of Mayor John Cranley and a City Council majority, both of whom strongly support the Management-Only operations method (using SORTA-ATU employees to operate the streetcars), the Cincinnati City Council is now attempting to defer its’ obligation to select a Streetcar operator to the SORTA Board of Directors, an unelected and unaccountable board.
As an agent of the City, SORTA continues to give the City misleading streetcar operating proposal projections, without any verifying information or documentation (company names, budget numbers, safety records, etc.). Public safety must come first; as a taxpayer-funded public project, streetcar money should be invested to develop a stronger, Cincinnati neighborhood workforce and not simply go to corporate profits.
We need a stronger City-SORTA partnership to guarantee the economic success and future viability of the Cincinnati Streetcar, and by using SORTA-ATU employees to operate the streetcar, we will accomplish these goals.