Financing the Brent Spence Bridge

Oct 30, 2012

Politicians are doing their part to keep the Brent Spence Bridge a topic of conversation; even President Obama mentioned it to an Iowa newspaper last week. Behind the scenes efforts are moving forward to build a new bridge faster and cheaper.

A new Brent Spence Bridge built the traditional way with mostly federal dollars is estimated to cost 2.7 billion and drag the project out for more than a decade. Ohio is investigating other alternatives, including a public private partnership and tolls. The State is commissioning what's called a value for money study to find out if the bridge can be built for less.

OKI Executive Director Mark Policinski says this comprehensive financial plan with consultants HNTB and KPMG is due out in February.

"At the end of the day it's how we're going to pay for it, how we're going to build it and when are we going to build it and the whole idea here is not talk, it's to build a new bridge sooner and cheaper. That's what the people of this region need."

Policinski expects Kentucky to help finance this study. The Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition has raised nearly 2 million dollars to lobby politicians and educate the public. Director Libby Korosec says the group wants to change Kentucky laws so a public private partnership could be an option.

"We're now beginning to formulate our legislative agendas for both Ohio, Kentucky and at the federal level.  So, we'll begin working on those in earnest at the beginning of the year."

Korosec and her group want to fast track the bridge with construction starting in 2014. The Brent Spence, considered functionally obsolete, was built to handle 80-thousand vehicles daily. Now more than 160-thousand cross it each day.