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Proposed Highway Plan: $60M in Federal Funds, $1.78B in Toll Revenue Bonds for Brent Spence

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear's proposed highway plan for 2014-2020 includes some funding plans for the Brent Spence Bridge project.

The plan was sent to the General Assembly on Wednesday.

The recommended plan provides $60 million of traditional highway funds to help facilitate the construction of a second bridge that would go up alongside the current Brent Spence to catty Interstate 75 and part of I-71.

Beshear's plan also recommends using $1.78 billion of toll-based revenue bonds to complete the project.

(Note: There are other projects of local interest in Kenton and Campbell Counties in the highway plan and those will be explored in a forthcoming article at The River City News)

The 45-year old Brent Spence Bridge currently carries all of I-75 and I-71 in addition to local traffic between Covington and Cincinnati. Under plans for the project, I-75 traffic and southbound I-71 traffic would be switched to a new bridge.

The governor presented his proposed budget during an address at the Kentucky State Capitol on Tuesday night where he also called for moving forward on the Brent Spence Bridge project in addition to partial funding of the urban campus for Gateway Community & Technical College in Downtown Covington and a new health innovation center at Northern Kentucky University.

Beshear has said on multiple occasions that tolls would ultimately have to be used to construct any new bridge, something that local city leaders and state legislators have mostly objected to.

A financing plan for the bridge project released on New Year's Eve by the transportation departments in Kentucky and Ohio spelled out how tolls would pay for the project.

“Our transportation system carries the life blood of our Commonwealth,” Gov. Beshear said in a news release. “Our commerce, economic development, education, community growth – our very quality of life – all depend on a transportation infrastructure that is as modern and safe as we can make it. Our Recommended Highway Plan represents a critical investment in that infrastructure.”

The Recommended Highway Plan honors commitments made in the 2012 Highway Plan while providing a way to accommodate some major, new initiatives, such as four-laning and extending the Mountain Parkway from Campton to Prestonsburg and setting aside funding to facilitate the Brent Spence Bridge project in Northern Kentucky. For both of those projects, the plan recommends toll revenue bond funding, as is being used in Louisville for the Downtown Crossing.

Read the full highway plan: Click Here

Photo: Rendering of Brent Spence Bridge project