Sen. Mitch McConnell pitches Brent Spence Bridge plan four months before election

If re-elected, will make bridge funding priority

FORT MITCHELL, Ky. – Sen. Mitch McConnell met with local leaders and the Northern Kentucky Chamber Friday announcing his new proposal for funding the Brent Spence Bridge reconstruction.

The bridge is “outdated and inadequate, functionally obsolete… it’s congested and potentially dangerous,” McConnell said, calling the bridge a vital hub of the entire country.

His proposal, The Emergency Interstate Bridge Safety Act, would authorize funding for interstate bridge projects like the Brent Spence Bridge through spending offsets provided by the repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act — which artificially inflates labor costs on federal government-contracted public works projects.

It costs the government extra money by requiring government contractors to pay beyond what are considered competitive wages in the free market for government work, he said.

As a result, it makes federal government-contracted projects more expensive than private-sector projects in the same market, he continued.

While McConnell has previously stated the federal government would not pay the entire $2.6 billion price tag of a new bridge, his idea would lend a chunk of that amount, if passed -- but could also be utilized for other massive projects throughout the country not just in Kentucky and Northern Kentucky.

“The Davis-Bacon Act is legislation from the Great Depression era that is even older and more obsolete than the Brent Spence Bridge itself. It needs to be repealed,” McConnell said.

It’s what he called a “common sense proposal” and implored state and local leaders to jump on his bandwagon, supporting him and his strategy, by re-electing him in November.

“I will make it a top priority if I’m minority leader next year,” he said, promising no tax hikes, no tolls and no rise in the national deficit.

His contender Allison Lundergan Grimes called his plan unveiling an “unserious scheme” and released her own ideas challenging his plan for the bridge.

After years of dragging his feet and looking the other way, Grimes said, “McConnell wants us to believe he can forge a solution. That's nonsense.” 

“As the proud guardian of gridlock, Sen. McConnell is the embodiment of budgetary impasse and dead-end sequestration. He has been the problem,” she said.

WCPO Insiders can compare both plans and see the reaction of locals and leaders. Is this a political ‘Hail Mary’? Or can McConnell make this happen back in D.C. in time for your vote?

 

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