S.O.R.T.A. Submits Cincinnati Streetcar Operator Proposal Pricing to City of Cincinnati

Statement from SORTA Chair Jason Dunn

Statement from SORTA Chair Jason Dunn

"The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority’s objective has been to assure the best value for the City and its residents in terms of quality and price in procuring a contractor to manage the operations of the Cincinnati Streetcar. 

The procurement process has been conducted with the highest level of professionalism and integrity.  We believe that the pricing being presented to City Council represents the best possible value for each of the two service delivery methods. 

To avoid delay and additional cost for the streetcar project, the SORTA Board needs a decision on the preferred method from Cincinnati City Council by the end of June so that SORTA can award the contract in July.  This will allow the selected contractor the necessary time to prepare for vehicle delivery beginning in September." 

Procurement process background:

As the grantee for Federal Transit Administration funding for the Cincinnati Streetcar project, SORTA’s role has been to manage the procurement process in accordance with Federal and SORTA requirements and to award the contract.  The process requires that the proposers’ identities and contents of the proposals be kept confidential to protect the integrity of the process until the contract is awarded, which is slated for July. 

Based on a City Council motion in late 2014, the City’s role is to select the preferred method of service delivery: 

  • 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.

All proposers were required to submit proposals for both methods.  Using a rigorous evaluation process, SORTA and City representatives rated the proposals, interviewed firms, and conducted negotiations with the top proposers.  The pricing that represents the best value for each method is being shared with City Council for their decision on preferred method this month.

The streetcar operations contractor must be on-site in August to prepare for the arrival of the first streetcar this September and vehicle testing that begins this fall.


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