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OKI awards $54 million for local transportation projects

Tana Weingartner
The Western Hills Viaduct replacement project is one of the awardees.

The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) is naming 26 projects to receive funding through various grant programs. In total, the awards come to $53.8 million.

"They're from all over the region - Boone, Kenton, Campbell counties all enjoyed some projects as did Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont (counties)," says Bob Koehler, OKI deputy executive director.

"Today's awards are a major investment in our multi-modal transportation network. These projects will improve mobility and safety for drivers, transit riders, cyclists and pedestrians. And, they will raise the quality of life for our citizens," adds David Painter, OKI board president, in a statement.

The list of projects includes 13 in Ohio and six in Kentucky. Indiana funds are distributed through a different process, Koehler explains.

Among the projects slated for funding in Ohio are the Western Hills Viaduct replacement, a SORTA transit center in North College Hill, and a shared-use path between Glenwood Gardens and Winton Woods.

Kentucky projects include a 2.4 mile segment of multi-use trail around the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport, road improvements in Highland Heights, and new hybrid-electric fixed route buses.

"The one thing that I noticed this year compared to past years has been more local match," Koehler says, referring to non-federal dollars that local communities bring to the table. "In our system, the more match you bring to the table, the more points you get in our system. People were bringing more match and it paid off for several communities. It's good for us because we can spread our federal dollars further and do more projects."

Koehler theorizes communities may have had extra money this year because of COVID-19 stimulus funds or pent-up demand.

"Never have these investments been more critical for our economy, our safety and our future,” says OKI CEO Mark Policinski. "They are an investment in both the people and projects of our region. As global competition incessantly challenges us, our infrastructure must be dramatically improved. ... These improvements range from the basic to the advanced; but, they are all aimed at making the region's work more successful and its quality of life healthier."

OKI distributes the federal transportation funds through three programs: the Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG); the Transportation Alternatives (TA); and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ).

Full list of projects receiving funding:

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.