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.
Some Northern Kentucky lawmakers have been opposed to using tolls to pay for upgrading the bridge. But Beshear wants to get legislation passed next month that would authorize public/private partnerships on Kentucky transportation projects. He says that's an important part of replacing the Brent Spence Bridge.
“There’s been a lot of misinformation, assumptions that aren’t true, knee-jerk opposition to tolls, and the inability to see the big picture. And all of that has too many people confused about what this project is all about,” Beshear says.
Beshear says the region can't depend on federal dollars to help replace the bridge. Washington, he says, is “dysfunctional”.
The Governor says it’s up to states to get projects like this done. He says he worked with the Governor of Indiana to get bridges built between their two states, in less time and at a smaller cost than first projected.
“That’s the same future that Governor Kasich and I want this area to have,” he says. “When we finally get to work on this bridge, the synergy that’s going to happen both in southern Ohio and in northern Kentucky will be monumental. You will see a surge of economic activity. We’ve seen a lot up here in seven years, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Beshear spoke at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Covington, Monday.