Saturday, December 08, 2001

Funding denied for roadwork

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A state panel Friday approved funds for only one Greater Cincinnati road project, taking no action on Butler County's proposed $91 million extension of Ohio 63 and several other key projects in fast-growing suburban areas.

        With federal funding uncertain, the Ohio Department of Transportation's project review board didn't authorize 2006 construction money for more than 50 projects on the application list before it in Columbus.

        The board — called the Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) — authorized some $20 million for preliminary work for eight projects throughout the state.

        The only local project to receive TRAC funding approval was the widening of a one-mile stretch of Ohio 22 in Hamilton County from two to five lanes. TRAC approved $2 million for preliminary work.

        Local projects not funded Friday included the proposed Interstate 75 intersection at Greentree Road in Warren County and the widening of New Haven Road bridge over I-74 in Harrison.

        TRAC officials said they can't commit construction money to projects for 2006 until they're certain how much federal money they'll receive. Federal funding ac counts for about 80 percent of TRAC's money.

        Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens said he needed more information before he would know what impact TRAC's funding decisions Friday would have on the Ohio 63 extension project.

        Last year, TRAC approved more than $200 mil lion for 16 projects.

        The five-year law authorizing federal transportation construction runs out in 2003, and there is no guarantee how much federal money will be available for the next five-year period, said Michael Cull, TRAC coordinator.

        He said TRAC might receive assurances by the end of this month about its federal funding in the next five-year cycle.


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