(Cincinnati)--The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) has announced they are willing to take responsibility for the operating cost of the Cincinnati streetcar.

At their meeting Tuesday, the board voted to “endorse the concept of assuming responsibility for the operating costs associated with the Cincinnati Streetcar.” SORTA says bus service will not be affected.

The board’s decision is based on the other groups working with SORTA in a public-private partnership to secure the needed money. SORTA says the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. US Bank Foundation have already committed $1 million.

The vice chair of SORTA’s Board, Karl Schultz, said: “For Greater Cincinnati to successfully develop a truly regional approach to public transportation it is imperative that the Cincinnati Streetcar project proceeds. SORTA is willing to explore assuming responsibility for the Streetcar’s future operating costs and we ask the City get the project moving again and work with us and the business and philanthropic communities to quickly move to a viable solution.”

Metro's CEO & general manager Terry Garcia Crews, says “We believe this is a viable solution for our region. The City will not be responsible for the future operating costs of the Cincinnati Streetcar. Our business and philanthropic leaders have demonstrated leadership, and we are confident they will deliver. Importantly, because of SORTA’s involvement, discussion of the Cincinnati Streetcar can now be considered in the context of this region’s comprehensive public transit needs.”

The concept approved by SORTA at today’s Board meeting requires further refinement and collaboration between the city, its business and philanthropic communities and SORTA.