By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS - Getting to Northern Kentucky University could be easier in the future, thanks to $1.5 million in federal highway money.
That will pay for designing the proposed $19.5 million AA Highway/Interstate 275 Connector, which would improve access to NKU. The road would lead from near the intersection of the AA Highway and I-275 in Wilder and serve as a new entrance to NKU.
Kentucky U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, a Southgate Republican, included the money in the Transportation Appropriations Bill that is moving through Congress.
The road would also help the effort by NKU, Campbell County Fiscal Court and Highland Heights, Cold Spring and Wilder develop a high-tech research park on the NKU campus by opening up new parcels of land.
"This road is a great step forward in our effort to complete the university's master plan, and a catalyst for the surrounding cities' economic development opportunities," said NKU President James Votruba.
Campbell County Judge-executive Steve Pendery, among those leading the effort, said the money "will accelerate our plan to secure knowledge-based businesses that will provide badly needed revenue for the cities and the county and complement the residential communities in central Campbell County."
Working with Northern Kentucky Tri-ED, an economic development recruitment agency, NKU and the county and local governments have started trying to bring high-tech businesses to the region.
A timetable on construction of the new road has not been released.
Bunning and Kentucky's other U.S. Senator, Republican Mitch McConnell of Louisville, also announced federal money for other regional projects:
$2.8 million for the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky to replace buses.
$1.5 million for navigational equipment at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
$1 million for the Sanitation District No. 1 of Northern Kentucky. The money will be spent on water and sewer infrastructure improvements and construction in Alexandria. The district plans $70 million in improvements there.
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