The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has asked the Federal Transit Administration for another extension — a Feb. 21 deadline — to either reopen Public Square to buses or pay a $12 million fine. If granted, it would be the second time the GCRTA asked for, and was granted, an extension.
The letter states more time is needed for the GCRTA and the city of Cleveland to review traffic and safety studies performed on Public Square, and implement recommendations made in the studies.
Buses in Public Square have been the subject of controversy since the square’s reopening in August 2016, when the city made the decision to keep Superior Avenue closed to public transit. In August, the FTA warned that keeping the road closed to buses would be a breach of contract. In late December, the FTA sent a letter demanding the GCRTA reopen Public Square or pay $12 million for what the feds say is a breach of a federal grant agreement.
The portion of Public Square that was supposed to allow bus transit was funded by a federal grant given to the RTA in Oct. 2004 for the construction of the Euclid Corridor Transportation Project, now known as the HealthLine.
Mayor Frank Jackson has stated that he will not reopen the square due to security and terrorism concerns. He also initially stated that the GCRTA would have to show that the closure caused a financial burden to the public transit agency.