The governors of Ohio and Kentucky plan to meet early next year to talk about replacing the Brent Spence Bridge. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says they're going to try to find a way to get the project moving. He says any more delays will be costly.
Using a 3 percent inflation figure from the Federal Highway Administration, Beshear says continued delays will add about $7 million per month to the construction price tag. “Folks, that’s $84 million a year,” he says.
Taxpayers will pick up the tab for an $8 million study of the impact of a reconstructed Brent Spence bridge on traffic, noise and the effect tolls will have on minorities and low-income persons.
The Ohio Controlling Board released the money Monday at the request of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)
ODOT spokesman Brian Cunningham said the state of Ohio is in the process of working out a “memorandum of understanding” with the state of Kentucky. Once that is finished, Cunningham said, Kentucky will reimburse Ohio for half of the $8 million.
At the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Friday, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell spelled out his solution for paying for a new Brent Spence Bridge. The Republican says he will propose repealing the Davis-Bacon Act that requires the government to pay the local prevailing wage for federal projects.
By getting rid of this requirement, McConnell says, it will provide $13 billion to the Brent Spence and other bridges in need of repair over a ten year period.
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.