Home » Northern Kentucky awarded $5.4M to improve air quality

Northern Kentucky awarded $5.4M to improve air quality

Funding marked for Riverfront Commons Trail, hybrid TANK buses

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 22, 2015) — Gov. Steve Beshear and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials today announced the award of $5.4 million in Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds to improve safety and air quality in Northern Kentucky.

Part of the proposed Covington Riverfront Commons trail, heading east along the flood wall, with the new Ascent at the Roebling Bridge on the right in the background.
Part of the proposed Covington Riverfront Commons trail, heading east along the flood wall, with the new ascent at the Roebling Bridge on the right in the background.

Most of the funding will go to the cities of Covington and Dayton toward completion of 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, connecting communities from Ludlow in the west to Fort Thomas in the east.

Also included is funding to enable TANK—the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky—to replace high-emission diesel buses with cleaner-running electric-diesel hybrid buses.

“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, Gov. 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 — $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.

KYTC solicits applications and makes awards annually for CMAQ funds. The KYTC Office of Local Programs administers the CMAQ program.