Sunday, December 14, 2003

Funding cut for Ohio 63 extension



By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MONROE - Ohio 63 has come to a dead end.

Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens has given up on plans to extend the four-lane road from Ohio 4 to Trenton and Seven Mile after the state yanked a previous funding commitment last week.

"I'd say it's dead," said Wilkens, whose office had been working since 1998 on the project.

Ohio's Transportation Review Advisory Council withdrew the $27.7 million allocated to the $89 million road because Wilkens could not find local funding for it.

The 10-mile road would have extended Ohio 63 from Salzman Road in Monroe, around the southern edge of Trenton, to U.S. 127 north of Seven Mile. It would have eased congestion on Ohio 73 in Trenton and provided a direct link to Interstate 75 for the Miller Brewing Co. and other companies and residents and central Butler County.

Earlier this year, Wilkens asked the state for $50 million to build the first phase from Monroe to Wayne-Madison Road. But the request was ignored Tuesday when the state canceled its prior allocation.

Trenton officials were unaware of the funding cut Friday. "It would have been an economic development boom to the community and eased congestion," said Patrick Titterington, city manager.

Monroe leaders, however, weren't upset by the news. They got what they wanted from the state on Tuesday - $44 million to rebuild the Ohio 63 interchange at I-75 beginning in 2008.

"We're very happy about it," says Bill Brock, Monroe city engineer and acting city manager. As for the westward Ohio 63 extension, "we never saw a benefit to this city from the project, although it would help out immensely with congestion near Trenton," Brock said.

E-mail jkiesewetter@enquirer.com




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