Officials: Tolls coming to new Brent Spence Bridge

COVINGTON, Ky. - State officials from Ohio and Kentucky say the only way a new Brent Spence Bridge can be built in the next 30 years is if drivers pay a toll to help cover the costs.

Some drivers spoke out against the plan at a meeting Tuesday in Covington.

"To tax the residents and ask them to pay for this I think is totally wrong," said Sydney Terrell from Fort Wright.

But officials say it's the only way.

"Tolling absolutely has to be part of it," said Jim Riley of the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Officials say tolls need to be a part of the $2.7 billion project because without tolls, the soonest a new bridge would be completed is 2040.

A lack of federal funding and revenue from the gas tax were cited as a few reasons tolls are needed to complete the project.

"Tolls is just one source, we're going to use gas taxes, we're going to get federal loans, so our study is going to look at all the ways we can get funding together," said Riley.

You won't see old-fashioned toll booths on the new bridge. The tolling will be done electronically, meaning no stopping to pay.

More than 170,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day. The structure is considered functionally obsolete in part because of a lack of a shoulder and smaller than standard lanes.

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