As Ky. and Ohio governors prepare to meet on N.Ky. bridge, dueling campaigns show divide over funding

12/11/2012 10:48 AM

Gov. Steve Beshear will meet with Ohio Gov. John Kasich and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Wednesday in their latest efforts to figure out how to pay for a new bridge over the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Covington.

This comes as dueling campaigns have sprouted up to lay the groundwork for different methods to cover the $2.5 billion cost of the new bridge that would divert some of the I-75 and I-71 traffic away from the Brent Spence Bridge. The project has an estimated completion date of 2022.

The current bridge, which opened in 1963, is considered functionally obsolete by federal standards because its daily traffic flow of nearly 200,000 vehicles is over capacity. The bridge was designed to carry 85,000 vehicles per day.

The Build Our New Bridge Coalition is pointing to the breakthrough in Louisville’s Ohio River bridges project. Construction is slated to begin on two new bridges — one from downtown and one on the eastern part of Jefferson County — in 2013.

Libby Korosec, a public relations professional, is the public face for the coalition. She said the new Northern Kentucky bridge needs to be a public-private partnership that could start the construction as early as 2018. So does that mean tolls?

She answers that starting at 2:30 of the video. Here’s the interview with her:

Rep. Arnold Simpson, D-Covington, is among the group of Northern Kentucky lawmakers who don’t want to see tolls on the new bridge. And he said that’s precisely what a public private partnership means.

Meanwhile, the Northern Kentucky Tea Party and outspoken lawyer and radio personality Eric Deters have embarked on their own marketing campaign to rally Northern Kentuckians against tolls.

Deters, in an interview, questioned who would profit from tolls.


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