Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kentucky neighbor lauds Cincinnati streetcar plan

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Newport, Ky.’s City Commission Monday adopted a resolution supporting efforts of its larger Ohio neighbor, Cincinnati, to establish a $185 million streetcar system. Newport’s resolution carries no fiscal weight, but rail supporters took the support as a positive sign that the Kentucky city would welcome being included in any future system expansion.

"We think it would be good if there was a loop through the river cities,” said Newport Mayor Jerry Peluso. “It would be good to spur economic development.”

Newport once was served by the Cincinnati, Newport and Covington Railway. Peluso and other city officials noted residual streetcar infrastructure still exists in Newport. “It is a neat idea. The rails are still underground on Monmouth Street,” Peluso said.

A second nearby city on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River, Covington, could vote on a similar resolution Tuesday.

St. Louis-based Bi-State Development Agency, which operates MetroLink light rail service, is the only U.S. operator of LRT spanning two states (Missouri and Illinois). But Vancouver, Wash., is exploring an LRT link with Portland, Ore.’s TriMet light rail system. In New York City, the Staten Island Economic Development Corp. is advancing plans for light rail that strongly recommend an eventual link with New Jersey Transit’s existing Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Transit system.

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