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The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority's (SORTA) board earlier this week approved the transfer of $268,278 in leftover federal grant funds to the Cincinnati Streetcar project.The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently informed SORTA that $876,762 in rail-related grant funding awarded to SORTA in 1996 must be used or it would be forfeited. The FTA agreed to allow SORTA to use $608,484 for the Metro bus system, and suggested the agency transfer the remaining amount to the streetcar project, which is the region's only active rail project, SORTA officials said in a press release.Since the streetcar is the only project to qualify for the funds, the board approved a measure to use the funds to supplement the city's streetcar unallocated contingency fund."Our objective is to keep these federal funds in the Cincinnati region," said SORTA Chairman Jason Dunn. "It was a use-it-or-lose-it proposition."Meanwhile, streetcar trackwork is underway along 12th Street, while crews soon will start building a foundation for the power substation on Court Street. The streetcar system's first phase will be a 3.6-mile, figure-8 loop designed to link major employment centers in downtown Cincinnati and the Uptown area, and connect to the Over the Rhine neighborhood.
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