City & Duke Energy Reach Streetcar Agreement
Duke Energy To Begin Moving Its Utilities
Today, Mayor Mark Mallory and City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. announced that the City of Cincinnati and Duke Energy have reached an agreement on the Streetcar project. Under the agreement, Duke Energy will begin moving its utilities now, while a court determines responsibility for the relocation costs later.
The City and Duke have also agreed to an operations plan for how Duke and the City will work in partnership once the Streetcar is operational.
"From the beginning, I said that we would come to agreement with Duke, and we have," Mayor Mallory said. "Duke Energy is one of the City of Cincinnati's strongest corporate partners, and they will be strong partners as we build the Streetcar and continue to grow our city."
The City and Duke have signed two agreements. The first agreement is an Operations Agreement that provides for how Duke will collaborate with the Streetcar’s construction and how it will safely access its utilities in City streets once the streetcar is operational. It spells out provisions for routine, extended, and emergency maintenance of the electrical and gas lines along the streetcar route. Duke has agreed to relocate only those utilities in direct conflict with the streetcar slab or where access is located three feet or less from the edge of the track slab.
The second agreement is a Cooperation Agreement between the City and Duke, which lays out how the two parties will resolve the question of who is responsible for the costs of relocating Duke's utilities in City streets for the streetcar project. Duke and the City have agreed to seek a declaratory judgment in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. Duke and the City agree to abide by the court ruling, after they have exhausted any appeals.
"The utilities' agreements are in place, the cars are being ordered, and the construction bids are coming in," said City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. "The Streetcar is happening."
On Sept. 26, 2012, the Cincinnati City Council authorized $15 million for potential utility work; that money will be put into an escrow account until the parties receive a final decision from the courts. If the court determines that Duke is responsible for the costs, the money will be returned to the City, and it will then be available for other uses. If the City is responsible, Duke will receive the actual costs of the relocation, with any remainder returned to the City.