Monday, March 7, 2011

Public gets look at ongoing OKI freight plan

Approximately 60 people got a look at the preliminary findings of Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) Regional Freight Plan during a presentation Thursday afternoon.

The plan aims to shape future multi-modal transportation investments and ensure the region's economic competitiveness in a global market that's rapidly changing.

Although the eight-county region is strategically located along three interstate highways, two Class 1 rail lines, an inland waterway, and an international airport, OKI believes that these assets are underused.

Highways are facing growing congestion levels, with the Ohio Department of Transportation estimating that the number of trucks using Ohio's highways will double by 2035.

The Mill Creek Valley rail yards are a nationally-known bottleneck, with more than 600,000 rail cars passing through them per year.

But to OKI, of utmost importance is the woefully inadequate Brent Spence Bridge, which it calls our region's "most vital link to world markets".

To create a world class supply chain, OKI is seeking solutions to improve infrastructure and lower costs of the region's road, rail, river and runway operations while mitigating negative effects on mobility, safety, the environment, and quality of life.

The study team will analyze the needs and deficiencies and identify recommendations, and a freight stakeholders meeting will take place this June or July. A finalized plan will likely be presented to the OKI board in August.

Public comments can be submitted through the plan website or by mail at OKI Freight Plan; 720 E Pete Rose Way, Suite 420; Cincinnati, OH 45202.

Previous reading on BC:
Agreement on expanded Cincinnati port could come by September (7/5/10)
Ohio funds could create true 'Port of Cincinnati' (5/27/10)
Port study would examine impacts of fourth Mill Creek rail main (9/30/09)
OKI releases 2008 annual report (4/30/09)
Transportation task force wants your input (5/27/08)