Enquirer sues SORTA over streetcar information

From The Cincinnati Enquirer The Enquirer filed a Wednesday lawsuit asking the Ohio Supreme Court to force the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority to provide the public with access to documents regarding the operation of Cincinnati's streetcar.

The suit accuses SORTA, a transportation entity in charge of deciding which company will operate the controversial streetcar project, of violating Ohio's Open Records laws by refusing to provide Enquirer reporter Jason Williams with the documents when asked in a March 30 letter.

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) is following its established Procurement Policies and Procedures Manual which it believes to be in compliance with state and federal law regarding Requests for Proposals.

SORTA sought guidance from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) regarding its process, and, in a March 23 letter, the FTA confirmed that SORTA should follow its established procedures," a Wednesday SORTA release noted.

SORTA hadn't seen the suit and wouldn't comment further.

Williams filed his request asking to review documents submitted by companies responding to a SORTA request to bid on the estimated $4 million per year contract to maintain and operate the 3.6-mile, $148 million streetcar. Bidding is done in an attempt to encourage competition to control costs.

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