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'I want to get it done': Gov. Beshear on Brent Spence, economic growth and Omicron

120221 Beshear Cincinnati Chamber monthly briefing.PNG
Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber (screenshot from Dec. 2, 2021 Monthly Member Briefing)
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said over $10.4 billion in new investment has been made in the commonwealth this year. He addressed recent investments in the Northern Kentucky region during an appearance at the Cincinnati Chamber's monthly member meeting on Thursday.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said we are "living through two historic moments" during the Cincinnati Regional Chamber's monthly member briefing on Thursday.

The two moments he mentioned: the COVID-19 pandemic and economic progress. During the briefing, Beshear discussed the looming threat of the Omicron variant in the region. The governor says his administration will provide more information on the variant as it comes in, noting the similarity to the beginning of the pandemic when so much about COVID-19 was still not known.

"We know that getting vaccinated, and now especially, getting your booster is crucially important," Beshear said. "Anybody who has put off that booster shot, I can tell you I know at least 10 folks in the last three weeks that have put it off and are now suffering or have suffered from COVID, so please, go out and get that done as soon as you can."

On Sunday, the World Health Organization warned that the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus poses a "very high" global risk because it could spread more easily and might resist vaccines and immunity in people infected with previous strains.

Kentucky currently has a positivity rate of 8.56%. At least 60% of the state's total population has received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Roughly 72% of the Greater Cincinnati region over the age of 12 has received at least one dose.

Economic progress in the commonwealth

During the briefing, Beshear addressed the economic progress Kentucky has made this year in light of the pandemic.

Beshear says over $10.4 billion in new investment has been made in the commonwealth this year. He addressed recent investments in the Northern Kentucky region, specifically the Amazon cargo hub at CVG Airport, which he says is the company's largest project to date.

"It means that every boardroom across America knows where we are and every country across this globe knows who we are and what we can do," Beshear said. "That is a great testament to the people of Kentucky that when these incredibly large companies are betting their future, they're willing to bet it on us."

Beshear also discussed what the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan means for the Brent Spence Bridge, echoing earlier statements that the bridge won't require tolls if Kentucky gets awarded the proper amount.

"I think it's going to happen," Beshear said. "And I'm doing everything that I can, talking to every person that I can. I did it leading up to the passage of this bill, both talking with some of the folks that are on the phone today as well as being relentless with other leaders in Washington. I want to get this done."

A proposed $2.6 billion plan would repair the existing Brent Spence and build a new bridge beside it to spread out the traffic load. More than 163,000 vehicles a day travel across the bridge, according to a 2019 study by the Kentucky Transportation Department.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.