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The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority's (SORTA) board yesterday approved an operating and maintenance agreement that outlines the responsibilities of the agency and the city of Cincinnati in operating the city's new streetcar system.The agreement also has been approved by the Cincinnati City Council, which adopted dedicated funding sources for the streetcar operations, including property tax abatement offset revenue, parking fees, fares and advertising. Under the agreement, funding to operate the streetcar would be provided by the city through an annual funding request submitted by SORTA.In addition, the agreement:• sets the process for city approval of streetcar fare and fare policies;• delineates the city's responsibilities, including traffic signal maintenance, clearing blockages from the streetcar such as improperly parked cars, cooperation on utility interfaces, safety and security; and• identifies SORTA’s responsibilities, including streetcar operations, vehicle maintenance, facilities maintenance, fare collection system provision and maintenance, marketing, and advertising sales.Now under construction, the Cincinnati Streetcar system is slated to begin operation in September 2016.SORTA operates Metro and Access non-profit, tax-funded public transit services, providing about 17 million rides per year in the Cincinnati area.
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