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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Brent Spence Bridge: Tolling vs. Anti Tolling Websites

In the last year and a half, the Brent Spence Bridge has become a backdrop for national speeches by governmental bigwigs, the lynchpin for local and state-wide elections over the last election cycle and will no doubt be a deciding factor in the race for the Governor's mansion this fall.

The issue has garnered a lot of attention and money and has spawned two major local contingents: Build Our New Bridge Now and NKY United. Click the links to visit their sites.

Both coalitions claim bipartisan support and have picked up support from some major business, political and civic leaders on both sides.

Most recently, State Senator Chris McDaniel brought Fort Thomas into the BSB conversation by suggesting an "outside the box" solution of building a bridge across from Newton, Ohio which almost certainly places the bridge in Kentucky in or near Fort Thomas.

"I see the biggest options out in front of us right now moving more to the East, trying to align in between 471 and 275 somewhere to the east of town," said McDaniel.

From their respective websites on their mission:

Northern Kentucky United:
Northern Kentucky United is a broad coalition of residents, civic leaders, advocacy organizations, business leaders and elected officials who oppose tolls on the Brent Spence Bridge. We are concerned about negative impacts of the Brent Spence Bridge project on the region.

Our mission is to help inform and educate Northern Kentuckians about the impacts of the Brent Spence Bridge project on the region, highlight Northern Kentucky’s opposition to tolls on the bridge, and to ensure that Northern Kentucky’s collective interests are adequately represented in the process and all possible alternatives explored.

Northern Kentucky is united in its opposition to tolls, and is united in its demand for specific, accurate details about the potential impacts of the project on our region.

Build Our New Bridge Now:
The Coalition to Build Our New Bridge Now (BN2), a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, is comprised of business, community, labor, and political leaders committed to making the region’s most important infrastructure project a reality. The BN2 Coalition is pushing for the states of Ohio and Kentucky to develop and implement a plan to fund, finance, design, and construct the new bridge and perform necessary rehabilitation work on the existing Brent Spence Bridge to make our Interstate highway system safer and more efficient and our region more competitive.

The Brent Spence Bridge is labeled as a functionally obsolete bridge by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The span was built 50 years ago to  carry 80,000 vehicles daily, but now carries more than 172,000 and is expected to carry more than 200,000 in a few years.

More than 75% of the one million jobs in the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati region are within five miles of I-75.

A new Interstate highway bridge across the Ohio River affects each one of us because this traffic route is a lifeline to our region’s and the nation’s economy and vitality. Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) estimates that building a new bridge will create tens of thousands of new jobs. This includes the construction jobs to build the bridge and the jobs that will result from increased and sustained economic development.

As the issue continues to unfold, we will do our best to uncover what the real issues are driving the tolling issues. 

1 comment:

  1. The Brent Spence Bridge replacement is the best solution, but using tolling to pay for it is such an inefficient way to pay for it. Raising the gas tax or a regional sales tax increase would add no additional operational cost. But, the word Tax is too politically unpopular. Of course a toll is a tax as well. Maybe we should just call it a "pay-at-the-pump gas toll"