Morning News and Stuff

Streetcar gets Dec. 19 deadline, mayor could veto project, city manager search back on

The Federal Transit Administration on Friday

gave Cincinnati until Dec. 19

to make a final decision on the $132.8 million streetcar project before it pulls up to $44.9 million in federal grants. The decision gives the city less than two weeks to finish its audit of the project’s completion and cancellation costs, which should be conducted by global auditing firm KPMG. The streetcar project would presumably die without the federal grants, which are covering roughly one-third of the project’s overall costs, even if a majority of council or voters decide to continue with the project.

Mayor John Cranley

might veto legislation continuing the streetcar project

, even if a majority of council agrees to restart the project after its costs are reviewed through an independent audit, said Jay Kincaid, Cranley’s chief of staff, on Friday. If Cranley vetoes, council would need a supermajority — six of nine votes on council — to continue the project, which could be difficult since there are only two perceived swing votes on council. The veto threat presents a bait-and-switch for many streetcar supporters: Only five council members voted to pause the project on Dec. 4 while the city reviews completion and cancellation costs, but six members might be needed to continue the project if Cranley reviews the audit and decides it is still too expensive.

Cincinnati Parks Department Director Willie Carden, Mayor John Cranley's choice for city manager,

withdrew from consideration

on Friday. In making the announcement, the mayor’s office said it will keep Acting City Manager Scott Stiles in his current role while the city conducts a national search for a permanent replacement. Carden’s nomination was initially well received by council members, but it grew somewhat controversial after Carden insisted he will continue to live outside Cincinnati — a violation of the city charter — and The Cincinnati Enquirer

uncovered an ethics probe

that found Carden wrongfully took pay from the city and private Parks Foundation.

The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)

fell short on recommendations

from a previously undisclosed 2012 survey of the region’s business needs. In particular, CVG most likely won’t be able to meet the key recommendation to land Southwest Airlines, a discount carrier that could help bring down fares and increase travel destinations.

Cincinnati

turns 225

on Dec. 28.

Ohio gas prices

spiked to $3.24 for a gallon

after briefly dropping to around $3.

Major companies are feeling increasing pressure to move or at least establish alternative facilities in the urban core as young workers flock to cities, according to

The Wall Street Journal

.

About 99 percent of U.S. exterminators

encountered bed bugs over the past year

, up from 11 percent a decade ago.

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