Nearly two-thirds of Boone, Campbell and Kenton residents support plan that includes tolls
COVINGTON – Nearly 60 percent of Northern Kentucky residents support a plan to improve the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor that includes tolling to help pay for the project.
The poll – commissioned by the Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition – also found that most residents say the bridge is in poor condition and getting worse; that they are unlikely to vote against a legislator that supports the project; and that they would rather pay a toll than higher taxes.
“This poll – performed by a nationally-known and respected pollster — confirms that Northern Kentucky residents want a bridge corridor that is safer, less crowded and more efficient to travel, and they’ll pay a reasonable toll to improve conditions on a bridge that is unsafe and a constant source of gridlock,” said Matt Davis, director of the Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition, a broad-based partnership of businesses, government leaders, community groups, and individuals advocating for the bridge’s replacement.
The poll of 500 registered voters contacted who were contacted by phone and who live in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties was conducted Feb. 19-22 by Public Opinion Strategies, a national polling firm based in the Washington D.C. area that has done extensive work for several Kentucky elected officials and political committees. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.
Specifically, the poll found:
- 59 percent of residents would support a plan to improve the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor through a combination of tolls and federal and state funds.
- 57 percent say the quality of the bridge has “gotten worse” over the past few years.
- 70 percent of residents said voting for a toll plan would make either no difference or increase their chance of voting for a legislator.
- By wide margins residents would rather pay a toll than increase other taxes: 85 percent oppose a gas tax increase; 76 percent oppose a local sales tax increase; and 87 percent oppose a property tax increase.
The polling results come as the Kentucky General Assembly considers House Bill 443, legislation that would allow Kentucky to create Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) to build major infrastructure projects.
A vote to approve the P3 legislation will not enact tolls on the bridge, but it will allow a P3 to potentially be used on the corridor project, Davis said. A financial plan for the project would then be developed, which could recommend tolls. The Kentucky General Assembly would then vote on the financial plan during the 2016 legislative session.
“Passage of P3 legislation will help accelerate the completion and lower the costs of major transportation projects in Kentucky”, Davis said. “House Bill 443 will allow one of the most important infrastructure projects in the history of our community to move forward with an innovative and proven approach.”
The 50-year-old Brent Spence Bridge is an unsafe, overcrowded span that carries more than 172,000 vehicles a day, more than double the capacity it was built to accommodate. Each day, 30,000 trucks carry more than $1 billion in freight across the bridge. Daily backups on the bridge contribute to gridlock, lost productivity, and dangerous, time-consuming commutes.
Further delays mean that every day we wait for a federal handout that is never coming is another day that 215,000 people travel across an outdated, overcrowded, and unsafe bridge.