extension gets extra federal funding
By Jeff Gallatin
Published Aug. 3, 2005
officials think an additional $480,000 in Congressional aid for
the Crocker-Stearns extension will help put that long-awaited project
on the road to success with nearly $1.4 million in federal transportation
"That's great for the entire area; we can certainly put the funds
to good use on that project," said North Olmsted Mayor Thomas O'Grady,
who last week was expressing concern that one Senate bill would
have cut $180,000 out of the $900,000 approved for it in House of
Representatives legislation. "That project will be a major benefit
for not just North Olmsted and Westlake, but the entire Westshore.
It will provide a major north-south artery road, which we really
don't have at this point."
However, instead of cutting funds for the project when the House-Senate
Conference Committee resolved differences between the two versions
of the transportation project, it added the $480,000 for a total
of $1,380,000 for the project.
Officials for Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-10, and Sen. George Voinovich
said they were both working hard to get the Crocker-Stearns extension
and other area transportation projects through.
"Congressman Kucinich had earmarked the legislation and was talking
to different people about it," said Doug Gordon, Kucinich's press
secretary. "He was very aware of its importance to the area."
Marcie Ridgway, Voinovich's press secretary, noted Voinovich had
talked with O'Grady about the matter in July and received O'Grady's
letter telling him North Olmsted would be hard-pressed to make up
any cuts in federal funds.
"The senator worked on that and several other projects with other
Ohio legislators to make sure they were funded," she said.
Kucinich said the final transportation bill was good for the area.
"This is a good day for Northeast Ohio and the nation," Kucinich
said. "Northeast Ohio needs this money. Our community's economic
strength, our ability to create jobs and improve business productivity,
and our desire to create a safe, efficient transportation system
are all-dependent upon increasing investment in our infrastructure.
"This bill will yield substantial job growth and other economic
Both O'Grady and his Westlake counterpart Dennis Clough were pleased
by the final federal figure.
"It's something people have been working on for a long time," Clough
said. "I'm glad to see that North Olmsted is retaining funds it
had sought for the project and I'm glad that Westlake will be getting
some assistance from this as well."
George Nashar, chairman of North Olmsted City Council's Streets
and Transportation committee, said the move should keep the project
moving ahead again.
"People have been waiting nearly 30 years for this project," said
Nashar, who has been on North Olmsted City Council for 16 years.
"If they had cut the funds I'm not sure where we would have found
funds in the city. Instead, there is additional help and it should
still get going in 2006."
O'Grady said there will be an additional benefit to North Olmsted.
"When we get the extension up and running in a few years it will
alleviate a lot of the traffic on some roads like Barton and Bradley
and all the side roads that people have been taking to try and get
through the area," O'Grady said. "That will be better for the neighborhoods
and the traffic flow. We're certainly appreciative of all the hard
work Congressman Kucinich, Senator Voinovich and all the officisals
put into it on behalf of our area."
Clough said the extension will also bring additional people to and
from the area for their jobs and visiting area shopping destinations.
"It will provide a strong economic benefit," Clough said.