The battle over how to pay for replacing the aging Brent Spence Bridge cranked up a notch.
A coalition calling itself Northern Kentucky United launched a campaign to fight tolls on a new bridge. The coalition will lobby lawmakers and has organized an online petition drive. There has been a lot of vocal opposition to tolls but nothing very organized until now.
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It's a collection of people who wouldn't usually mingle, democrats and republicans, the northern Kentucky tea party. They claimed to speak for the majority of people who regularly drive the bridge. The Brent Spence Bridge was deemed functionally obsolete. Its 49-years-old and a lot of people think it should be replaced. It has had its problems but the 175,000 people who drive across it every day do it for free. Friday morning, Oct. 3, Northern Kentucky United launched a campaign to keep it free.
Long-time state senator Joe Meyer of Covington, the spokesman, said, "I'm comfortable in suggesting $150-$200-million a year will be taken out of the economy to pay tolls. And that's just by the people who are driving. That's the direct costs."
Meyer, a democrat, was joined on the coalition by republicans and tea party members; not his usual political allies. The website questions claims the bridge is unsafe and must be replaced soon. It's the first organized opposition to the campaign to build a bridge quickly and pay for it with tolls.