Opponents of the Brent Spence Bridge replacement project continue to spew misinformation, lies, and propaganda about the project. Below are some of the examples of misinformation being spread by opponents about the region’s most important infrastructure project. Click on the myth to learn the truth about this project.
The Brent Spence Bridge is structurally sound, and therefore, safe.
Congestion on the BSB only costs 3.4 minutes per day.
Although the BSB is more than 50 years old and continues to deteriorate as it ages, engineers have determine that bridge is “structurally” sound. However, there is more to safety than simply architecture. These same engineers have determined that the bridge is “functionally obsolete.” That’s because the bridge has narrow driving lanes that don’t comply with federal regulations, has no emergency shoulders, and supports a daily traffic load that is more than double the amount for which it was designed. So, while the bridge may still be structurally sound, it’s condition continues to deteriorate and the existing driving conditions make it extremely unsafe.
One of the project’s most vocal critics – Covington City Commissioner Steve Frank – told The River City News and others that the bridge is not dangerous. However, in a May 2012 letter to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Frank wrote that he is “very familiar with the need to do something about the bridge as it is our Police and Firemen from the City of Covington who must risk their lives on the Brent Spence Bridge both rescuing stranded motorists as well as investigating their demise when the all too frequent fatalities occur.” In addition, a study by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Ohio Department of Transportation found that motorists are three to five times more likely to have an accident within the bridge corridor than on any other portion of the interstate highway system in Ohio or Kentucky.
While the this figure is statistically correct, it is calculated over a 24-hour period. Anyone who has been stuck in the regular traffic jams on the BSB – especially during the morning or evening rush hours — will tell you that congestion is far worse than that. However, even that number changes dramatically if one or more lanes on the bridge are shut down. If one lane of the BSB is shut down, traffic in the other lanes is reduced by 58 percent, according to studies. Further studies show that a traffic jam can leave you sitting in your car for up to three hours.
Tolls on the bridge will divert traffic to other roads.
With the current state the bridge is in and daily gridlock caused by congestion, traffic is already being diverted. Commuters already avoid the gridlock and dangerous bridge by taking other routes to their destinations.
Tolls on the BSB will just further congest the corridor.
Modern tolling technology is done electronically. This means that drivers would not need to slow down, change lanes, or deposit money.
Tolling is the worst way to fund a project of this magnitude.
Even if the federal government steps up on this project, it has made it abundantly clear that it will not cover the complete cost of the $2.6 billion project. The U.S. Department of Transportation expects much of the funding for the bridge to come from both the Kentucky and Ohio governments. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox has suggested that these states consider tolling to pay for the bridge. The other ideas that have been raised to pay for a new bridge — a local sales tax, a gasoline tax increase, or vehicle registration fee increase – either won’t raise enough money or are not politically feasible. Having the people who use the bridge pay for it through tolls is the most equitable way to fund a new bridge.
Tolls on the Bridge will cost $5 or more.
Government officials have said if tolling is approved for the BSB project, tolls will be kept as low as possible. The two new bridges that are being built in Louisville will have tolls as low as $1-2 for local commuters.
A new bridge won’t help; it will hurt the local economy.
This is simply a scare tactic by those opposed to tolls. The construction of a new bridge will create new jobs, bolstering the economic growth of the surrounding area. Moreover, a study by Texas Transportation Institute on the BSB and its surrounding area found that a new bridge will economically benefit the entire region. In fact, the TTI study estimates that 20 years after the initial investment of $2.7 billion dollars will result in a benefit to commuters, shippers, and manufacturers in the amount of $18.9 billion. A new bridge will also improve the quality of life for local residents, will be safer, and will eliminate the daily traffic jams on Interstate I-75/I-71.
The bridge project includes a total of 21 lanes, which would have a “horrible impact” on Covington
According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the replacement project will result in construction of 11 new lanes for a total of 16 lanes on the new and existing bridge. Building a new span along and significantly revamping the existing bridge will enhance access to Covington, increase the flow of traffic through the bridge corridor, and dramatically improve safety.
In 2014, the Kentucky General Assembly allocated $750 million for expansion of the Mountain Parkway in eastern Kentucky, which means the legislature places a higher priority on that project over the Brent Spence Bridge.
Legislators only allocated $110 million over the next two years to the Mountain Parkway expansion. Additional funding is needed, with some of it likely to come from tolling. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Ohio Department of Transportation already have already collectively incurred more than $100 million in costs on the Brent Spence Bridge project, primarily for preliminary engineering and design work and right of way and utilities.
We can wait; we don't need to build the new bridge now?
As Gov. Beshear reported in December 2014 at the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Government Forum, the cost of the bridge project increases $7 million a month due to inflation and added project costs. That’s about $233,000 a day, $84 million a year, and nearly $1 billion more if the project is delayed another decade. “We can’t afford to wait,” the Gov. Beshear told the audience. “Seven million dollars a month is too high a price to pay for politics, for procrastination or for indecision. We’ve got to act aggressively this coming year to move ahead with this project to build the Brent Spence Bridge.”
Congress will fund the majority of this project.
In just the past several weeks, Congress soundly rejected two proposals to generate funding for major infrastructure projects, such as the Brent Spence Bridge replacement: 1) rejecting an increase in the federal gas tax; and 2) rejecting a return of budget “earmarks,” which were targeted allocations of major funding for federal infrastructure and other projects. Congress eliminated earmarks two years ago.