Monday, March 22, 2010

Streetcar tentatively awarded $15M, other projects recommended

The City of Cincinnati's proposal for a multi-phased streetcar system has been awarded $15 million in a draft document from the Ohio Department of Transportation's (ODOT) Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC), scoring higher than the more than 100 projects that submitted applications to its nine-member board.

The funding is part of more than $103.2 million in new construction, project planning, and engineering recommended to be added to ODOT's Major New Construction Program, which has targeted more than $2.5 billion in spending to Ohio multi-modal projects of $5 million or more between 2010 and 2014.

Projects were scored based upon their benefit/cost ratios, economic development opportunities, smart growth strategies, and municipal partnerships.

Recommended projects also were required to show the ability to add capacity to the state's transportation system.

"We are building our state for the future," said ODOT Director Jolene Molitoris, who also chairs TRAC. "These recommendations reflect Governor Strickland's focus on creating jobs and positioning Ohio to compete in a global economy."

Public comment on the draft list will be accepted through May 3, with TRAC expected to finalize the list at its May 13 meeting.

If accepted, Cincinnati could receive the funding by this summer, allowing the City to continue work on preliminary planning and to begin relocating utilities for the $128 million Downtown-Over-the-Rhine circulator.

"We are grateful to Governor Ted Strickland, Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jolene Molitoris and the TRAC for their support," said Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dohoney. "The state has also pledged their ongoing commitment to consider this project for future state grant awards and to help the city in securing additional federal dollars."

Dohoney said that this funding makes the project more attractive for federal funding.

"This action by TRAC puts Cincinnati one step closer to a streetcar system that will have a transformational effect on the city, leading to new businesses and job creation," he said.

The City also will seek further public input into a future connection to the Uptown neighborhoods.

Earlier this month, the board of directors of the Uptown Consortium and the Neighborhoods of Uptown, a new coalition that includes all of the Uptown neighborhoods, endorsed the project.

Banks, I-75, Eastern Corridor also win

Also recommended in ODOT District 8, which includes Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Greene, Hamilton, Preble and Warren counties:

  • Tier I (existing projects): $215.2 million to reconstruct I-75 between the Western Hills Viaduct and Mitchell Avenue, $79.5 million to reconstruct I-75 between Glendale-Milford Road and Shepherd Lane, $39.2 million to reconstruct the Mitchell Avenue interchange, $28.9 million for a railroad spur south of the Norwood Lateral (OH-562), $24.3 million to add a fourth lane to I-75 between the Norwood Lateral (OH-562) and Mitchell Avenue, $10.3 million to reconstruct the Colerain/Beekman/I-74 interchange, and $7.5 million to remove the Monmouth Street overpass over I-75
  • Tier II (new project): $1 million to study the feasibility of a fourth main rail line through the Mill Creek valley
  • Tier II (existing projects): $27.4 million for replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge, $21.9 million for an existing project to add a fourth lane to I-75 between Paddock Road and the Kemper Road overpass, $16.4 million for a new connector between Red Bank Road and Bells Lane, $7 million to add a fourth lane to I-75 between the Norwood Lateral (OH-562) and Cross County Highway (OH-126), $4.4 million to create a passenger rail line as part of the Eastern Corridor project, $3.9 million to grade-separate OH-32 from Eastgate Boulevard to Old OH-74, and $3.6 million to control access on Red Bank Road between US-50 and I-71
As part of ODOT's dedicated FAST TRAC program to quickly fund projects that it deems major economic drivers, the TRAC board approved $10.2 million to connect Freedom Way and Race Street to the intermodal facility at The Banks and $30 million in stimulus funding for the CSX National Gateway project, which will improve bridges and freight rail lines throughout the state.

Image courtesy of the CincyStreetcar Blog.

Previous reading on BC:
CFP celebrates, plans to continue (12/14/09)
Port study would examine impacts of fourth Mill Creek rail main (9/30/09)
Ballot language requiring rail vote passes out of committee (9/2/09)
Monzel asks Cincinnati to cease and desist all streetcar activity (8/10/09)
Partnership selected to manage streetcar project (6/15/09)