Editorial: Gov. Matt Bevin owes us a real plan for the Brent Spence Bridge

Posted at 6:00 AM, Jan 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-11 08:47:03-05

Speak out. Contact Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin as well as the chair and vice-chair of the Northern Kentucky Legislative Caucus, Rep. Addia Wuchner and Sen. Wil Schroder. Demand a plan. Let them know what you think. Scroll to the bottom for their contact information.

Our neighbors downriver in Louisville are now speedily crossing the Ohio on two brand spanking new six-lane bridges.

Meanwhile, we are stuck here with a 53-year-old bridge over the Ohio that is rusting, falling apart, congested and unsafe.

Louisvillians and their neighbors across the river in Southern Indiana are helping to pay for their $2.3 billion new bridges (not just one, mind you, but two) with tolls of as little as $2 per car.

Meanwhile, we’re trapped in limbo without a plan to pay for a new Brent Spence Bridge. And just as surely as the sun rises, traffic on Interstate 75 will start backing up around mid-afternoon on any given day, wasting time, fuel and money.

Louisville tolls spur Brent Spence debate

We’re way past due for a viable plan to pay for a replacement for the overworked Brent Spence Bridge, and that responsibility falls on the shoulders of Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.

Last year, Bevin signed a bill banning tolling on the Brent Spence. If tolls are off the table, what’s the plan?

Bevin acknowledges that the Brent Spence is inadequate. His transportation office told WCPO that the governor "recognizes the need to alleviate heavy congestion, enhance safety and improve cross-river mobility in the growing region."

So what are we going to do about it, governor?

The bridge will cost about $3 billion, and it gets more expensive every year we wait.

Watch a video on how traffic will worsen without a new Brent Spence. From OKI Regional Council of Governments:

Forget about the federal government paying for it. Yes, that would make sense. The bridge carries I-75, one of the busiest corridors in the country, traversing six states, but Congress has made it clear it won’t be paying for it. Just a couple years ago, this region had the two most powerful people on Capitol Hill representing it (Rep. Boehner and Sen. McConnell) and they didn’t even try.

The so-called Eastern Bypass idea is not a viable option. How long would it take to get the approvals and the money to build 60 miles of highway? And it wouldn’t solve the bridge problem.

What we need is a new I-75/I-71 bridge. We should learn from how the bridges were built in Louisville. If Bevin and the Northern Kentucky legislators are taking tolls off the table, then they owe us a real plan. We've been talking about a new bridge and studying it for years. We need a do-able plan by June 1 or sooner. It's time to get moving.

Speak out

Here's how to contact Ky. Gov. Matt Bevin:

Write: 700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 100
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Call: (502) 564-2611

Twitter: @MattBevin

Here's how to contact Rep. Addia Wuchner, chair of the Northern Kentucky State Legislative Caucus:

Write: 702 Capitol Ave
Annex Room 315
Frankfort KY 40601

Phone: 859-525-6698
502-564-8100 Ext. 707

Twitter: @addiawuchner

Here's how to contact vice chair Sen. Wil Schroder:

Write: 702 Capitol Ave
Annex Room 229
Frankfort KY 40601

Phone: 502-564-8100 Ext. 624

Twitter: @WilSchroder