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Metro awards infrastructure grants from Issue 7 funds

A Metro bus sits in the underground Riverfront Transit Center, beneath 2nd Street, ahead of a press conference on September 30, 2022.
Bill Rinehart
A Metro bus sits in the underground Riverfront Transit Center, before a press conference on September 30, 2022.

Metro has announced the second round of infrastructure grants. Twenty-five Hamilton County communities will share in $39.2 million for projects. The money comes from the voter-approved Issue 7, part of the Reinventing Metro effort. Issue 7 created a 25-year 0.08% sales tax in Hamilton County. It passed in 2020.

Metro's Brandy Jones says it's about more than just buses. "That means streets, bridges, sidewalks, technology, bike paths, trail paths. You want to have a community that you can walk, bike, bus, and if you choose to drive, that’s OK too," Jones says. "But you have the option to have a very integrated experience that allows for a much healthier and attractive region to live."

Jones says the 36 projects include street reconstruction, bus stops, new sidewalks and fiber optics.

She says the idea is to make Hamilton County more multi-model. "We're really planning for our future, and thinking about how do we support infrastructure improvements today that will put us in a greater position in the future?"

On Tuesday, Metro announced the selection of two corridors, Reading Road and Hamilton Avenue, for the first phase of Bus Rapid Transit services. BRT will start in 2027 with fewer stops, more buses and some dedicated bus lanes.

"While we certainly can't do everything in one year because of funding limitations and the time it takes to be very thoughtful in our approach to roll out these improvements, the more input that we get — and while we’re hearing from our public about where the need is, and how we can support that — we are listening."

Jones says there will be more TIF grants to come next year. "If there's a project in your community that you think could benefit from some of these grants, please do apply," she says. "Quite frankly most of the projects that submitted applications were funded."

The Transit Infrastructure Fund also provides about $8 million a year toward replacing the Western Hills Viaduct.

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.