Mayor Mallory, Councilman Lippert disagree on funding for proposed MLK Drive Interchange

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Mayor Mark Mallory is calling on Congress to take action help communities with major transportation and infrastructure projects, specifically the new interchange connecting Martin Luther King Dr. to Interstate 71.

Mallory was joined by the University of Cincinnati, The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Cincinnati Children's Medical Center and the Uptown Consortium.

"Uptown is our second largest jobs center, yet it has a terrible connection to the highway," said Mallory. "If we could build this interchange, it would not only put people to work in the construction of the exit, but it would also allow the employers in the Uptown area to grow by having safer and more efficient access to the highway."

President Obama's American Jobs Act contains $27 billion for projects to make the national highway system safer and more efficient.  The new interchange between MLK Drive and I-71 is a $56 million project that is currently in the planning stage.

However, a key aspect of the President's plan is that it will target high impact, job-creating infrastructure projects that could be fast tracked by streamlining federal review and permitting processes.

Cincinnati City Councilman, Wayne Lippert, supports the MLK interchange but doesn't want to relying on the Jobs Act to pay for it. A bill he opposes. "We can get this (MLK interchange project) up and running in two years if we use the city money, capital dollars, not general fund dollars, but capital dollars that are currently allocated to the street car. My question is that its really a case of priorities. What's more important," said Lippert.

Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.