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Cincinnati To Pursue TIGER Grant For Western Hills Viaduct

The aging Western Hills Viaduct is reaching the end of its design life and replacement planning is underway.
The aging Western Hills Viaduct is reaching the end of its design life and replacement planning is underway.

Update 10/12/17 8:55 a.m.:  An aide for County Commissioner Denise Driehaus emailed WVXU Thursday morning that Commissioner Todd Portune was "speaking for himself" on the TIGER grant application during Wednesday's city council meeting, not the board as a whole.  The aide said the commission majority supports the city's position to seek TIGER funding for the Western Hills Viaduct.

Original post:Cincinnati is moving forward with a plan to seek a $15 million federal grant to help pay for a part of the Western Hills Viaduct replacement.  

City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to seek TIGER money for the project.  

Meanwhile, Hamilton County could seek $25 million in TIGER funds to place decks over portions of Fort Washington Way.  

County Commission President Todd Portune addressed council before the vote.

"We don't want to be at odds with the city on the TIGER grant," Portune said. "We're just simply told that TIGER, we will not be successful if we apply for that right now for the viaduct."

The county wants to seek money for the viaduct from a different federal program. The deadline to apply for TIGER grants is Monday.

Assistant City Manager John Juech said that is not the city's assessment of its grant application for the viaduct. He told council about conversations with the city's federal lobbyist.

"And (they) said that the grant application that we're putting together for Western Hills Viaduct, they believe has a strong chance of being well received by DOT," Juech said.

Council Member Yvette Simpson said the two sides need to work together.

"I think we probably should be rowing in the same direction here," Simpson said. "And I'm worried what happens if the city submits one application, the county submits a different application, we could lose the TIGER altogether."

Replacing the viaduct is expected to cost more than $330 million.

Meanwhile, the county commission Wednesday decided to move forward with a plan to increase license plate fees in the county by $5. Public hearings are planned for next month on that proposal.

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