Today, Northern Kentucky United sent a letter to the Kentucky members of the 2014 Executive Committee of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) requesting a retraction of Mr. Policinsky’s statement regarding the 2012 National Bridge Inventory inspection of the Brent Spence Bridge.
You can read the full text of the letter below:
October 8, 2014
OKI Regional Council of Governments
Attn: 2014 Executive Committee (Kentucky Members)
720 E. Pete Rose Way, Suite 420
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
To the Kentucky members of OKI 2014 Executive Committee:
I am writing to you today with concern regarding OKI CEO/Executive director Mark Policinski’s statement issued yesterday on the 2012 National Bridge Inventory (NBI) inspection of the Brent Spence Bridge.
Mr. Policinski’s statement was unacceptable. It was unbefitting of the station of OKI, inappropriate to the seriousness of the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project, and an injustice to residents and commuters who use the Bridge. Mr. Policinski should retract the statement and correct the record regarding the structural integrity of the Brent Spence Bridge.
Mr. Policinski politicized OKI, leveling a thinly veiled threat at the Kentucky General Assembly:
“The first duty of government is to protect the people. In the Kentucky legislative session starting in the next few months, let us hope our elected officials will hold that obligation to its citizens dear when they vote on building a new, safer and cheaper bridge or letting a bad bridge get worse. Our safety is in their hands.”
OKI is too important an institution for its Executive Director to crassly intervene in an upcoming election.
Mr. Policinski misinterpreted the findings of the NBI inspection report, and inaccurately contradicted the KY Transportation Cabinet official’s statement regarding the report.
Mr. Policinski asserted that “the bridge’s ability to safely transport commuters, families, (sic) tractor-trailer trucks has significantly worsened.” The NBI report does not support that assertion. As Rob Hans, District 6 executive director of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet put it, “the bridge is safe, and we will make sure it stays that way."
Mr. Policinski is presumably familiar with NBI Inspection reports, and should know that the Brent Spence’s generally satisfactory score does not threaten the substantive safety of drivers. Mr. Policinski has a duty to correct the record.
Unfortunately, Mr. Policinski also implied that the Brent Spence Bridge was at risk of collapse. His statement claims that “press reports of experts comparing the collapsed Minneapolis bridge to the condition of the Brent Spence Bridge are chilling.” No press reports included experts comparing the collapsed I-35 Bridge to the Brent Spence Bridge; no experts would make that comparison.
The National Bridge Inventory classified the I-35 bridge as both “structurally deficient” and “fracture critical.” The Brent Spence Bridge is neither; its “functionally obsolete” classification is unrelated to structural integrity.
In his obsessive quest for tolls, Mr. Policinski appears to have forgotten that that the “K’ in OKI is for Kentucky. His statement was a disservice to the elected officials, public servants, and residents of Kentucky.
Northern Kentucky deserves a serious, transparent discussion about the Brent Spence Corridor Project. Mr. Policinski’s irresponsible, hysterical statement and continued use of fear tactics are an obstacle to that discussion.
As members of the OKI 2014 Executive Committee who represent Kentucky, please encourage Mr. Policinski to retract the statement and correct the record.
Joseph U. Meyer