As Jalopnik recently reminded us, Cincinnati is home to the "largest abandoned subway system in the United States." Construction of the planned 16-mile system began in 1920 and halted in 1925 when the initial funding of $6 million ran out with the project not quite halfway done. Almost a century and a few failed revivals later, two miles of unused tunnel still run below Central Parkway, one of the main roads through the city.
Geez, they've already spent about 25% of the construction cost. This would be a very good thing for the redevelopment of Over-the-Rhine and I really hate the idea of the city killing it. But, as the story notes, there's 2 miles of abandoned subway under Central Parkway, so just about anything is possible.
If Cincinnati isn't careful, its in-progress streetcar system might face a similar fate. Whether or not to finish that project was at the heart of the city's recent mayoral election. Stop-construction candidate John Cranley emerged victorious, and earlier this month the city council put the 3.6-mile project on indefinite pause despite about a half-mile of track already laid.
It can't stay on pause much longer. The Federal Transit Administration, which issued Cincinnati roughly $45 million in funding for the project, has asked for a decision on the project by the end of Thursday.
The big issue for Cranley and the city council is whether local taxpayers should be on the hook for potential operating costs. The new mayor has said he's willing to let construction continue if private donors come up with enough cash to pay for the first 30 years of running the system — a figure that's reportedly around $80 million. The auditing firm KPMG is expected to release results of a cost analysis sometime today.