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State: Nearly $4 Million for Covington, $500K for Dayton Riverfronts

More than $5 million is on its way to Northern Kentucky by way of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Governor Steve Beshear announced Thursday.

$5.4 million will go towards Riverfront Commons projects in Covington and Dayton, as well as towards new electric-diesel hybrid buses for the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky.

The long-awaited Riverfront Commons Trail, a multi-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians that when completed will stretch more than 11 miles along the Ohio River, will connect the River Cities from Ludlow in the west to Fort Thomas in the east.

“To have a healthy Commonwealth, we must have clean air and this funding helps us in working toward that goal,” Beshear said. “This step toward a healthier Kentucky has a direct link to our economic future because better health, especially for our workforce, has tangible positive impacts – fewer sick days, more production and a higher quality of life for our citizens.”

Federal CMAQ funds are for innovative transportation projects or programs aimed at reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality. As such, the program complements kyhealthnow, Beshear’s aggressive and wide-ranging initiative to improve Kentucky’s dismal health rankings and habits.

“The Riverfront Commons Trail will benefit northern Kentucky’s River Cities in important ways,” Beshear said. “It will make walking and biking a practical alternative to short car trips. That will mean less motor traffic on our streets, reduced emissions, cleaner air and better health.”

The largest of the three CMAQ awards is $3.9 million to the city of Covington for the shared-use trail.

“On behalf of the city, I am grateful to Gov. Beshear and the Transportation Cabinet for approving Covington’s application for funding,” said Mayor Sherry Carran. “Riverfront Commons is a quality-of-life asset uniting neighborhoods and communities whose histories have been defined by their shared space along the Ohio River.”

Some details of the CMAQ awards:

  • COVINGTON – $3.9 million for construction of a portion of 1,250-foot bicycle and pedestrian path along the river; construction of a bulkhead and grading; upper walk/bikeway along the base of the flood levee and at the base of Greenup Street, connecting to city sidewalks. Also, a connection under the Roebling Bridge, connection of the Madison Avenue overlook and fishing pier, and lighting.
     
  • DAYTON – $530,387 for construction of approximately 1 mile of bicycle and pedestrian path, including a ramp over the floodwall. Trail will run west to east from near O’Fallon Avenue to near Berry Street.
     
  • TRANSIT AUTHORITY OF NORTHERN KENTUCKY – $976,000 toward purchase of two hybrid electric/diesel transit buses.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) annually receives CMAQ funds for use in areas striving to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Such areas are designated “nonattainment” or “maintenance” for the standards. KYTC solicits applications for CMAQ funding from eligible project sponsors. Those selected are awarded 80 percent of the project cost in federal CMAQ funds, to be matched with 20 percent from the applicant.

CMAQ funds are available to state and local government agencies as well as private entities through public-private partnerships. Nonprofit organizations may also apply in partnership with state or local government agencies.

Southbank Partners played a role in securing the funds for the region.

"We have been sitting on pins and needles waiting for an announcement," said Jack Moreland, president of Southbank Partners. "It's just a very exciting time for all of the River Cities, including Covington and the City of Dayton, and it's just one more piece of the puzzle that we're going to be able to put in place to make this the best place to live, work, and play that it can be."

-Staff report

Photo: Image of Covington's planned riverfront project