Northern Ky. Democrat not surprised at $38 million taken out of Brent Spence Bridge project

03/18/2014 04:49 PM

The House version of the road bill took out $38 million of state money allocated for a companion to the Brent Spence Bridge in Northern Kentucky.

And Rep. Arnold Simpson, D-Covington, said that wasn’t surprising given that Kentucky and Ohio haven’t settled on a final play to pay for most of the $2.6 billion new bridge to carry I-75 and I-71 traffic.

The $38 million in state funding was removed from the final version of House Bill 237, which passed the House by a 51-43 vote on Tuesday. The measure keeps in $22 million in federal funds for the project.

“There’s not going to be a lot of money allocated to the plan until we have an overall plan relative to putting the pieces together to make the process a reality,” Simpson said.

Simpson said the action Tuesday is the latest of a long process of budgeting for a new bridge.

“What we did today in committee and on the House floor was only the beginning of the budgetary process,” said Simpson, referring to the two- and six-year road plans that came out Tuesday. “The important measure is going to be the fruits of the conference committee. That’s going to really tell the tale of the funding support of the Brent Spence project.”

Simpson has been vocal about not wanting tolls to pay for the project. And he said he believes that it can and should be completed without them.

“Federal transportation is the responsibility of the federal government,” said Simpson.
“Everybody is giving the federal officials a free pass and I’m amazed at that.”


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