NKYUnited Statement on Beshear/Kasich Press Conference

“We believe Governor Beshear will keep the promise he made to Northern Kentucky”

The following is a statement from Joe Meyer of Northern Kentucky United regarding the press conference and announcement from Governor Beshear (D-KY) and Governor Kasich (R-OH) on the Brent Spence Bridge Project:

“We’re glad to hear that Governors Beshear (D-KY) and Kasich (R-OH) have realized this project needs to be revisited, but what they have offered today is only a small step in the right direction.

“Tolls are not the answer. A $1 toll on the bridge is pure fantasy at this point. They have no finance plan, and cannot possibly know what the toll will be. Tolls for trucks are expected to be $6 - $12 per trip. The small businesses in the region will be negatively impacted, and the cost of goods and services will go up for everyone. The direct and indirect costs to Northern Kentucky will be several hundred million dollars annually.

“The size and scope of the project has never been justifiable. The changes announced today were an attempt to distract from the obvious issue: a new bridge more than three times the size of the current bridge, and wider than the George Washington Bridge in NYC.

“According to the most recently available traffic counts, traffic on the Brent Spence Bridge has decreased 3% since 2005. What is the justification for increasing capacity by 300%? Perhaps if we approached the federal government about funding a right-sized bridge with a significantly reduced price tag, we would get a different answer.

“Public-private partnerships for transportation projects are falling out of favor across the nation. The Governors of Illinois and Virginia have recently called a halt to these types of megaprojects pending a careful review of taxpayer protections in public-private partnerships.

“Governors Beshear and Kasich have offered no plan for how they intend to protect the taxpayer from the risks associated with public-private partnership agreements. The public-private partnership deal planned for this project puts all of Kentucky’s taxpayers at risk through the use of availability payments guaranteed by the state. They are an “off-the-books” obligation of the state’s road fund that will conceal the true size of the debt.

“They seem to believe that a public-private partnership is a magic pill for solving our transportation issues. It’s just more debt passed on to future taxpayers.

“In 2008 Governor Beshear said there must be local approval before any particular financing plan is agreed upon.  We believe Governor Beshear will keep the promise he made to Northern Kentucky.”

Watch the video below to see the interview with Governor Beshear.

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