Transportation council looks at possibility of tolls on Brent Spence Bridge

COVINGTON, Ky. - Crossing the Ohio River on the Brent Spence Bridge costs you time and patience if you are dealing with the frequent traffic — however it could soon cost you money, too.

The state board that approves funding for big transportation projects now says it wants to take a closer look at using tolls on the bridge. TRAC, the Transportation Review and Advisory Council , is looking at private-public partnerships to pay for the new $2.4 billion bridge.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said he is on board with the idea of exploring the tolling option for the project.

"There are all kinds of ways we can look at grinding out more infrastructure," Kasich said in May. "Sometimes, it's appropriate to toll."

Kasich and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear say adding the toll is an option that needs to be explored and considered.

In the mean time, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to create campaign called "Build Our New Bridge Now" to fast-track a replacement and raise money for an education campaign about the bridge and tolling.

"I really hate it when I hear people refer to them as tolls," said Julie Janson, Chair of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. "I personally refer to them as a user fee."

Among the tolling possibilities are allowing private contractors to pay for the rights to charge you a toll to cover the cost of their work.

Also, TRAC is moving up two other projects: the interchange at I-275 and OH 32, which will start in 2014. The widening of the Mill Creek Expressway between Western Hills Viaduct and Mitchell Avenue is set to begin next year.

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