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Friday, December 22, 2017

Opinion: Study Settles It - It's Time for a New Brent Spence Bridge

This week a study commissioned by the Commonwealth of Kentucky took a fresh look at the Brent Spence Bridge corridor and possible alternatives.   The study confirmed a new bridge is needed, something Chambers of Commerce, on both sides of the river, have been advocating for over 15 years now.  

With the conclusion of this most recent study, we now have had multiple transportation officials, spanning different administrations, at both the state and federal levels, analyze this issue from every angle.  Using data and facts, the debate about whether we need a new bridge is over.

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Now is the time to finally work toward finding a way to make it happen.

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Polling results for eligible voters in Northern Kentucky concluded the vast majority believe we need a new Brent Spence Bridge corridor.  Most believe we should have started construction already.
We can see first-hand the impact of not having an expanded I-75/71 corridor has had on our daily lives.

Whether it is a small HVAC business sending repair technicians to customer locations, shipping companies trying to deliver products, or health care officials trying to get a sick child from St. Elizabeth to Children’s Hospital, everyone can see with their own eyes the negative impact of the current Brent Spence Bridge corridor situation.

This past summer, travel times throughout the NKY region doubled and tripled while maintenance on the Brent Spence Bridge was being performed.  Had a new bridge been in place, the impact would have been dramatically reduced.

This study was a good reminder that this project is critical for our state and our country.  Over three percent of the U.S. GDP crosses the bridge every year.

It was also a good reminder that bridge that was originally designed for 80,000 vehicles a day is handling double that amount, and impacts the entire state of Kentucky.

The efforts of the Bevin administration and the new leadership in the Kentucky legislature earlier this year set the stage for increased economic activity due to the passage of pro-business policies.  Their efforts are clearly paying off.  Over the past 12 months our Commonwealth shattered the previous record and announced more than $8 billion in new corporate investments.

One such announcement was right here in Northern Kentucky with the $1.49 billion commitment from Amazon to locate their Prime Air shipping hub at CVG airport.

We are convinced that if we want to see more of these economic development announcements in the future, we need the infrastructure including roads, bridges, water, sewer, etc. to accommodate the growth.

The Brent Spence Bridge project is the most important project in our region and the state.  It is critical to our economy and our quality of life.

The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce would like to thank Governor Matt Bevin for his leadership regarding this issue.  He has consistently said that he would make the best business decisions for our state, and he is living up to that promise.   We fully support Governor Bevin’s efforts, and will work with the governor, along with our Northern Kentucky legislative caucus, as they develop long term infrastructure solutions and a financing plan for this project that will drive our economy into the future.

By NKY Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

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