Covington City Commission to Pass Anti-Tolls Resolution, Again

The Covington City Commission is expected to pass a resolution opposing tolls to finance the Brent Spence Bridge project on Tuesday night.

The move comes nearly one year to the day that the city commission passed a similar resolution in 2013. A year ago, the commission took a stance against both tolls and public-private partnerships as funding mechanisms for a new bridge.

Tuesday's resolution takes aim at the same targets and adds the concern of possible congestion in Covington that could arise from tolling the $2.5 billion project.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has said repeatedly that the project will not happen with some form of tolling. He said so again during a speech in Covington in December. The governor's recently announced highway plan includes tolling revenue as part of the funding for the bridge project.

Two recent reports also support the idea of tolling for the Brent Spence, a study in October and then a report jointly released by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Ohio Department of Transportation in December.

But in Covington, leaders still consistently say no to tolls. Candidates for election and reelection have made "no tolls" part of their platform in 2014. Northern Kentucky state legislators seem unanimous in their opposition to tolls this year and last year.

Secretary of State and Democratic candidate for US Senate Alison Lundergan Grimes also announced her opposition to tolls during a stop in Covington on January 24.

Other items from Tuesday's agenda:

  • City branding project. The city commission will consider a proposal of Landor Associates, which is handling a rebranding effort for the City of Covington, for the purpose of wayfinding style guideline services and business collateral development services. $28,000 would be paid from a grant used to fund the Center City Action Plan. An additional $8,000 for annual report development services by Landor would be paid from the city's general fund.
  • Remounting of 2 ambulances. The Covington Fire Department plans to remount two ambulance module bodies with new Ford F-450 chassis at a cost of $246,426 from the capital improvements fund. The department had planned to purchase a new ambulance and a new staff vehicle but will instead remount two existing ambulances at a savings of $100,000 according to the commission agenda.
  • Captian Charles Johnson is to retire from the fire department.