Brent Spence Bridge

Michael Keating

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.

Michael Keating

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.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, speaking at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday, called on the business community to step up and work with the legislature to make the new Brent Spence bridge project happen. "You know, we've got a lot of things that need to be flexible that we need to pull together and work together on."

Michael Keating

A new study, 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.

Michael Keating

Leaders in Ohio and Kentucky say the Brent Spence Bridge Project remains on target for a 2015 ground breaking but there's still no solid funding plan in place.

Mike Hancock of Kentucky says the states need to get creative when it comes to funding the project.

"There are opportunities to work with the community to see if there's anything we can do to make the toll rates more palatable."

Ohio Transportation secretary Jerry Wray agrees that tolling is part of the answer but not the entire solution.

Michael Keating

Ohio and Kentucky officials are working to complete a value for money study on the Brent Spence project.  

It will report the most cost effective way to build the bridge and new approaches to it.  That study should be done next month.  

Michael Keating

After hearing from residents opposed to using tolls to pay for the Brent Spence Bridge project,  the Kenton County Fiscal Court has passed a resolution expressing its opposition as well. Tuesday night's vote was unanimous. 

"Someone mentioned earlier, back in the '50's, we were able to build an interstate highway system.  Now we can't even build one bridge that is of national significance; and certainly that ought to be a highest priority for our federal government,"  said Commissioner Jon Draud.

WVXU

Funding for a new Brent Spence Bridge will include tolls, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and governors from Ohio and Kentucky who gathered Wednesday in Covington. But that doesn't mean everyone is on board with the idea.

As Ohio Governor John Kasich stood beside his Kentucky counterpart announcing the states would be working together to build a new bridge, he didn't shy away from letting a roomful of officials and reporters know that a toll would be part of it.

Michael Keating

A group aiming to speed up the timeline and reduce the cost of replacing the Brent Spence Bridge is stepping up public awareness efforts.

The Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition is advocating a public-private partnership to replace the aging Brent Spence. The group believes with corporate involvement and federal funding and cooperation, the bridge can be replaced more quickly and for less.

Pages