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Columns: NKY "Exceptionalism" Blocking New Bridge & Covington Leaders Feel Left Out

Is Northern Kentucky "exceptionalism" blocking the Brent Spence Bridge project? 

Don Mooney, a Cincinnati lawyer, takes a critical look at the anti-toll crowd in Northern Kentucky in a column at Cincy Magazine:

But tolls are anathema to our friends from Northern Kentucky, particularly among the Tea Party sect. Northern Kentucky legislators seem to have formed a suicide pact against Bridge tolls, apparently convinced that only Kentuckians voluntarily cross the river to the opposite shore and that Ohioans will go cold turkey on CVG and Kentucky liquor prices once tolls kick in.

In September, a Northern Kentucky Tea Party group proclaimed that it stood for “limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets” and that “tolls do not work with any of those three principles.”

How does the Tea Party want to pay for the bridge? Increase the Kentucky sales tax by 1 percent to subsidize their trips to Bengals or Reds games.

Huh? Tea Partiers who believe in “free markets” think everyone in the state should cough up an extra 1 percent at the grocery or local restaurant to make Northern Kentuckians’ trips across the river free? These robust defenders of “free markets” object to the notion of private financing, paid back with tolls? Instead they’d prefer to make the single mom in Hazard or Paducah buying diapers for her kid help pay their way across the mighty Ohio.

Read the full column: Cincy Magazine

Meanwhile, Covington city leaders are complaining that they feel left out in the planning stages of the new bridge. The Cincinnati Enquirer's Amanda Van Benschoten talked to some:

The additional traffic would also put serious strain on local streets, especially Fourth and Fifth streets, Covington’s main east-west corridors near the riverfront. Each road already carries in excess of 10,000 vehicles daily, according to state traffic counts.

“That’s just not inconvenient, it’s impossible. Neither our road system nor those bridges have the capacity to carry that much more traffic,” (Covington City Commissioner Chuck) Eilerman said. “That, on the face of it, makes this project, as planned, a non-starter. We can’t do the impossible.”

The footprint of the new Brent Spence would also eliminate access to Devou Park via Lewis Street, the main road into the 700-acre park for visitors from the north. Plans suggest widening Montague Road, which would require taking even more homes, but the bridge project does not include funding for that.

Read the full article: Cincinnati Enquirer

Photo: Rendering of new bridge that would be part of Brent Spence project