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Streetcar Committee Optimistic About NKY's Chances After DC Trip

The Northern Kentucky Streetcar Committee took its message and dream of connecting Newport to the Cincinnati Streetcar, to Washington, D.C. last week.

Committee chairman Ian Budd and Newport City Commissioner Beth Fennell returned from the trip optimistic.

In a message to supporters of the Northern Kentucky Streetcar Committee, Budd recounted that he and Fennell attended meetings arranged by consultants engaged by the City of Newport. The purpose, Budd said, was to make contacts, present the committee's research, ask for feedback on the viability of the proposal, and to learn about next steps.

Initial findings from the visit

In all, Budd and Fennell attended eight meetings with fifteen people, including officials from the Department of Transportation, the Federal Transportation Administration, the offices of Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, the office of Congressman Thomas Massie, and five consultants.

"We came away from these meetings with personal connections for several high level contacts," Budd wrote. "We presented an overview of our initial plans and answered many specific questions on the research we have done. The feedback we received in all of our meetings was that our proposal contains the elements of a successful project and that we should most certainly pursue next steps."

The committee members learned about the many funding options and regulations that govern them. The Department of Transportation will provide follow-up consultation on best options to pursue specifically for the Northern Kentucky Streetcar effort.

Budd stated that they were provided with a list of connections that need to be followed up with at the state and local levels.

"In overview, we found the visit to be very productive and informative," Budd wrote. "We are very encouraged by the responses we received to take this project to the next level."

The Northern Kentucky Streetcar Committee announced in January its intentions to link to the Cincinnati Streetcar. The immediate task for the committee is to raise funds for a proper feasibility study with the idea that the system would initially connect to Newport via the Taylor Southgate Bridge. The committee is also evaluating options to connect Covington to the system, too.

-Staff report

Photo: Ian Budd at Washington, D.C. Streetcar which opened last week (provided)

Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Budd and Fennell in Washington, D.C. (provided)