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RAISE Grant could help provide transportation to downtown Marietta

A new multimodal transportation corridor plan in Marietta has received over $1 million in funding as part of the $52.9 million granted to four Ohio infrastructure projects by the United States Department of Transportation.

The funds will primarily go toward the planning for the new corridor, including its preliminary design and engineering. The goal is to connect Marietta College and Harmar Village with downtown Marietta, with aims to make traveling there safer and more accessible.

According to a press release by the USDOT, the corridor will include improved traffic facilities for cars, buses, bicycles and pedestrians as well as accommodations for people with disabilities.

The funding was granted through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Transportation Discretionary Grants program, which was approved last year through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, helped create and push through.

Jesse Roush, with the Southeastern Ohio Port Authority in Marietta, said the funding will allow for deeper design and engineering projects, as well as the development of long-term safety plans.

Chantal Centofanti-Fields, Marietta College’s Grants and Foundation Officer, recalls numerous conversations she had with the college’s President, Bill Ruud, about one of his goals.

“His vision for what our campus needs and what would have a positive impact on the greater community is an intermodal transportation hub,” she said.

“Multimodal means multiple uses,” Centofanti-Fields said. “The structure on Marietta College’s campus would be accessible to buses, cars, bicycles, and will potentially have lockers and bathrooms and a meeting space that can be used by the public. Because we are Marietta College, we will want the structure on our campus to be as green as possible, so the top of the building will have parking, but it will also have a shade structure that will have solar panels mounted on. This would power the building and also power the charging stations (for electric vehicles).”

According to the MC press release, the Marietta structure will be located at the corner of Fourth and Butler streets, where the parking lot currently exists. The downtown structure will be located on Second Street, where the Parking Partners lot currently is.

Dr. Erika Smith, Director of Alumni Relations and Engagement at Marietta College, was also a part of the grant team.

“With the Phase I grant, the feasibility study and the other background work will be 100 percent funded,” Smith said. “The goal is that, once we have done the work necessary, we then can apply for an implementation grant, which could be $25 million.”

Washington County Commissioner Charlie Schilling said that this project is meant to unite people in the county while providing more access to safe transportation.

“There are a lot of communities in Washington County, and our goal is to connect them all.”

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