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OKI distributes federal transportation funds to local projects

Provided, City of Cincinnati

OKI Regional Council of Governments is giving 34 local transportation projects a big boost. Deputy Executive Director Bob Koehler says they'll split $69 million.

He says “it was a pretty balanced approach.”

Projects dealing with safety will get $5.2 million; bike/pedestrian projects are getting $18.4 million; transit will get $17.9 million; traffic operations $15.4 million; and $12.1 million for roadways and maintenance.

Koehler says transportation is the mechanism that powers the economy and quality of life.

“This element of our transportation system is sort of a bottom-up approach,” he says. “OKI doesn’t take the perspective where we tell people what projects they need to invest in. These are basically a request from the communities to satisfy their needs.”

Projects getting funded include a bike lane along Gilbert Avenue, adding EV charging stations to Sharonville's downtown, and adding turn lanes to KY 237 in Boone County. Metro will get 11 new electric buses, and TANK will buy 18 new paratransit vehicles. Traffic signals on Covington’s Madison Avenue will get modernized. Newport’s sidewalk improvement project will receive funding. The funds will pay for a shared-use path along US 50 from Little Miami Trail to Spring Hill, and Walton will get a pedestrian bridge over railroad tracks.

Koehler says the funds come from the U.S. Department of Transportation. “Transportation goes beyond community boundaries," he says. "Typically the impacts are positive for a wide range of people and communities, when communities invest.”

While OKI distributes federal transportation funds every year, he says this is the largest grant to go through OKI, although he expects a higher amount next year, thanks to changes in government funding formulas.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.