Senator Rob Portman's amendment to make obsolete and structurally unsound bridges such as the Brent Spence Bridge here a priority for federal funding passed in the U.S. Senate today.
It's not yet known how much of the $500 million set aside in the transportation appropriations bill for bridges in critical condition will go to the Brent Spence project, which officials in Ohio and Kentucky say will cost an estimated $2.7 billion to complete.
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.
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.
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.