With the aging Brent Spence in the background, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 533 into law Wednesday, as reporters and other politicians looked on.
The bill, which allows Ohio to collect tolls on the bridge, doesn't mean anything until Kentucky drafts and signs similar legislation. In March, the Kentucky House voted 82-7 to prohibit tolls on any federal interstate between Ohio and Kentucky.
Governor Kasich urged Northern Kentucky businesses to pressure lawmakers into allowing tolls for the new Brent Spence. "Because people here, the CBC, (Cincinnati Business Committee) the community, the whole thing, made it so clear, that everybody got it and they need to get it in Northern Kentucky and they will."
A study, released in October and commissioned by Ohio and Kentucky, has narrowed procurement models for the $2.5 billion Brent Spence Bridge project from four to two and projected a range of tolls. The study listed the following range of tolls: $1 to $2 for cars; $3 to $6 for light trucks; and $5 to $10 for tractor-trailers. These are just estimates and the toll rates could change.
The fifty-year-old Brent Spence, considered functionally obsolete, was built to handle 80,000 vehicles daily. Now more than 160,000 cross it each day.