Five years ago this month, OKI unveiled the OKI Regional Freight Plan that set forth a blueprint for freight related recommendations to ensure the economic stability of the Tri-State region.
The plan presented intermodal freight transportation solutions which are of vital importance to the future of the region’s road, rail, river and runway operations.
The OKI Regional Freight Plan identified freight trends, prohibitive bottlenecks and 60 project recommendations for the region’s freight systems. On average, the findings of the plan indicated that all freight moving in to, out of and through the region will continue to grow exponentially.
The plan identified 60 recommendations and pinpointed 12 “Top Priorities” that have the most immediate need and best address the five goals of the plan.
Since adoption of the Freight Plan in August 2011
8 of the 12 Top freight priorities are underway in some fashion:
- Some are under construction (I-75 Mill Creek Expressway and Thru the Valley – and I-471 Reconstruction)
- Others are currently under additional study (Brent Spence Bridge)
Others have undergone completed studies or have been recommended for further study in order to identify the preferred improvement on which to take action:
- East Sharon Road Truck Safety Study was funded by the Hamilton County TID and resulted in a preferred alternative improvement.
- CVG’s 2035 Master Plan Update (CVG Air Cargo Park) – completed in June 2013 – includes many road improvements to increase freight connectivity to the airport and spur the development of airport property for air-cargo related businesses.
- Grand Avenue Improvement, Taylor Mill is being “redrafted” by the ongoing Kenton County Transportation Plan into short-term (Ritte’s Corner) and long-term (Decoursey Freight Corridor Scoping Study) recommendations.
- And two of the recommendations are POLICY in nature (not bricks and mortar). The two policy recommendations from the top 12 have already pulled private/public partnerships together and are taking steps now towards action through signed Memorandums of Understanding or collaborative efforts (Activate the “Port” in the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority & Regional Public/Private Freight Rail Partnership).
While progress has been made on several of the regional freight plan’s recommendations, ultimately, the success of the plan will depend on the partnerships and collaboration of the public and private sectors. Railroads, trucking interests, barge terminals and air cargo carriers will need to collaborate to address the transportation challenges facing the OKI region over the next 20 years. While collaboration is the most important ingredient for successful implementation, progress can be measured by the economic vitality of regional businesses, which depend so greatly on the adequacy of the freight network.