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Thu December 13, 2012
Officials Defend Tolling To Help Fund New Bridges
State and federal officials say new Ohio River bridges cannot be built without tolling as part of the financing plan.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear this week signed a memorandum of understanding with Ohio’s governor to construct a new, $2.5 billion double-deck span to replace the Brent Spence Bridge linking Covington and Cincinnati.
Beshear says there’s no chance the federal government will pick up the whole cost of this project or two new bridges planned for the Louisville area.
"I don’t know that you’ll be able to put any kind of financing package in that will actually get this done if you don’t actually include tolls as a part of it," Beshear said.
"The idea that Uncle Sam is going to ride in here on a white horse and write us a check, just put that out of your mind because it’s not going to happen."
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says tolling is an inevitable part of the process.
"There is not a project in the country, there is not a region in the country that’s building a bridge, that does not have multiple sources of funding, including tolling," LaHood said.
Several groups plan a legal challenge to the use of tolls to help pay for the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville, saying they would place an unfair burden on local residents and businesses.