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Local News

Latest plan: Cost-sharing the new Brent Spence

When Governors John Kasich and  Steve Beshear hold a news conference in Covington Wednesday afternoon they are expected to elaborate on their plan to share the cost equally between Ohio and Kentucky. 

Many people are also wondering about a toll, something Northern Kentucky business leaders are against, but the governors say is necessary.

A study released in October 2013 projected $1 to $2 for cars; $3 to $6 for light trucks; and $5 to $10 for tractor-trailers.

Last summer Governor Kasich came to Cincinnati to sign a bill into law that allows tolls. But it means nothing until Kentucky lawmakers do the same.

Other financing ideas

This summer at the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce 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.

McConnell said, "Look, I'm opposed to tolls. The reason I'm suggesting this now is because Frankfort has not come up with a solution. The session is over. We know no solution has been put forward and so we need to go in a different direction."

Former Rep. Geoff Davis was at the event. He said, "This is the most credible proposal I've heard of.”

Not everybody is in favor

Covington Vice Mayor Steve Frank is opposed to tolls. However, he thinks the chance of a repeal of Davis-Bacon "is between zero and none." He says at some point the lawmakers are going to have to come together to work out a solution. As it stands now he says, "Stalemate.  You lose. No toll, no bridge. It's over."

The collapse of the Hopple Street overpass got some people thinking again about the aging Brent Spence Bridge, functionally obsolete with more than 160-thousand vehicles crossing a day. It was built to handle half that amount.