An infrastructure project seen by many as key to the growth of the logistics hub surrounding Rickenbacker International Airport    has been approved for $16 million in federal transportation funding.

The funding, announced Tuesday by the office of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, will pay for a planned east-west connector linking the Rickenbacker logistics hub with Route 23. The money, awarded through theTransportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Grant program, is a major win for Central Ohio’s logistics industry and for area officials who have endured a string of letdowns on funding for the project in recent years.

“The east-west connector would accommodate the growing truck traffic, both today and with widening of the Panama Canal in 2015, and improve road access as freight container volumes increase in the Norfolk-Southern freight yard in Columbus. The $16.08 million grant will update Duvall Road and Ashville Pike and upgrade two intersections so trucks can safely and efficiently reach U.S. Route 23 and then continue onto Interstate 270 and Interstate 71,” Brown’s office said in a press release.

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