RTA receives a 'final extension' of March 7 to reopen Public Square or pay $12M

RTA receives a 'final extension' of March 7 to reopen Public Square or pay $12M

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has received a "final extension" to either repay the Federal Transit Administration $12 million or to reopen Public Square to public transportation.

A letter from the FTA, date stamped Friday, gr anted a "final extension" to March 7 so the city of Cleveland and the GCRTA can further talk about
safety and traffic studies. The letter from the FTA specifically mentioned Mayor Frank Jackson's two prong test to reopen Public Square, showing that buses can operate safely through the Square, and showing that the GCRTA would be financially adversely affected by the closure.

City officials have conceded that the closure would affect the GCRTA's bottom line. Terrorism and safety were still brought up as concerns as recently
as last week. The FTA states that if the Square reopens that would nullify the debt.

The FTA has said previously that the closure of Public Square to buses violated a federal gr ant agreement that awarded money to pay for the Euclid
Corridor project, now known as the HealthLine.

A previous letter gr anting an initial deadline extension stated, "The FTA's position is that a permanent closure of Superior Avenue constitutes a breach of the Full Funding gr ant Agreement (FFGA) resulting in a debt owed to the FTA...the closure of Public Square has removed federally funded assets from use in public transportation, which was originally intended purpose for the funds."

Public Square was closed to buses in March of 2015. Although it was supposed to reopen on Aug. 1, the city announced Nov. 16 that the road would remain permanently closed due to safety and terrorism concerns, according to Mayor Frank Jackson.

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