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A streetcar in Northern Kentucky

NEWPORT, Ky. (Angenette Levy) -- Could Cincinnati's streetcar eventually connect to a rail system in Covington and Newport?

Some city leaders in those Northern Kentucky cities would like to start talking about the idea.

"A number of people are coming up to me and saying 'Are we going to have that discussion?  What are the chances of hooking into what Cincinnati is doing,'"  said Covington Mayor Sherry Carran.

Mayor Carran said it's time to start talking about bringing light rail to Northern Kentucky. The idea was studied 12 years ago but nothing materialized. With major construction projects such as replacing the Brent Spence Bridge

Carran rode streetcars as a child in Cincinnati. Northern Kentucky had its own system. Part of it was called the Green Line. Newport City Commissioner Beth Fennell and Mayor Carran believe light rail could ease congestion and help with business development.

"With people and their busy schedules, they're looking for a way to get to work in a timely fashion. They want to be able to leave a spot at a certain time and get to a spot by a certain time and light rail is one of the best ways to do that," Mayor Carran said.

Streetcars used to run across the Roebling Suspension Bridge from Covington to Cincinnati. In the 1950's, buses replaced streetcars. Covington restaurant owner Johnny Chu said he would like to see a rail system in Northern Kentucky.

"If it works in Cincinnati, it's going to work here in Covington," Chu said.

Chu owns Amer Asia on Madison Ave. in Covington. He believes a system that connected Cincinnati, Covington and Newport would be good for the entire region.

"When you have a streetcar that's going to help with less pollution in the air," Chu said.

Nothing is in the works yet. But Mayor Carran said Cincinnati's streetcar wouldn't have happened unless people started talking about it and discussing it in Northern Kentucky could lead to something happening.

"It would have to be sensitive to the history, the historic structure of our city. And it can be done. It's been done in other cities," Mayor Carran said.

Mayor Carran may travel to Portland, Oregon this fall to see that city's streetcar model. It has been hailed by streetcar supporters as a model for other cities.

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