McGrath Meets with Covington Mayor to Discuss Brent Spence Bridge
This article has been corrected to reflect the proper route of the Mountain Parkway.
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Amy McGrath met with Covington Mayor Joe Meyer on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the Brent Spence Bridge and plans to address concerns around it.
The span connects Covington to Cincinnati via I-71/75. It has been noted as functionally obsolete, and carries twice as many vehicles than for what it was designed.
One plan on the table is to construct a companion bridge next to the existing double-decker one.
The price tag for the project has fluctuated in recent years, but most estimates put it well over $2 billion if it includes additional interstate widening on both sides of the Ohio River.
Local officials have criticized the federal government for not coming through with full funding. Mayor Meyer is a vocal critic of any plan that would finance the project through the use of tolls.
Meyer, while speaking with McGrath, compared the Brent Spence to the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway in eastern Kentucky, a project for which Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican Majority Leader who faces McGrath in his reelection bid in November, was at least partially credited with finding funding.
Meyer said that the parkway sees a fraction of the traffic of the Brent Spence and that he does not understand the priority.
Meyer also raised concerns about the future for Covington businesses that are located off the exit and said that this project would have to be completed without tolls.
"Tolls would put Covington at a competitive disadvantage," Meyer said. "Why would I live in Covington if I have to pay to get to work in Cincinnati."
After the meeting, McGrath said that it's clearly an issue - and it's not new to those that live here.
"This is a national corridor, not a local one," she said. "It's going to need federal dollars to complete."
"The problem is Mitch McConnell," she continued. "We need to get back to leaders that represent the areas that they are supposed to be from."
When asked about her trailing poll numbers, McGrath said that she's only worried about the number of unemployed, sick, and dead Kentuckians that have fallen victim to an inept federal government.
A poll released Tuesday showed McConnell leading McGrath by seventeen points.
Story and photo by Connor Wall, associate editor