Taxpayers footing the bill for Brent Spence Bridge study

Taxpayers footing the bill for Brent Spence Bridge study

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Funding for a new $2.5 billion dollar Brent Spence Bridge is still in limbo, but now lawmakers are investing millions of dollars into a bridge study.

About $8 million in taxpayer money will be used to study the environmental and economic impacts of a new Brent Spence Bridge.
Those behind this legislation say it's time to keep pushing forward with this project, but many others are wondering why there's a need to spend even more money on a study.
"To have that much money invested in just a study which is a provocation of a first draft, that's a lot of money to invest," said Derrick Anderson.
"The $8 million is worth every bit of it and I'm sure that it will be spent wisely in order to protect the citizens of Ohio and Kentucky," said State Rep. Dale Mallory R-Ohio.
Derrick Anderson lives and works in Covington. He says it'd be nice to have a new bridge, but he wants to make sure it's done right. This study will look at how the upgrades affect local air quality and noise levels. Anderson says for local businesses like where he works at Willie's that's a legitimate concern.

"We're right off the exit and this is the closest thing you see when you come off, you see the sign, Willie's right here," said Anderson.
"During construction you'll have noise, you can't help it. After it if sound barriers are a part of the new bridge then that would be nice too," said Mallory.
But many questions remain before a new bridge is built, including how to pay for it. One option is tolls, and that's a big part of this study.

"Adding with the gas prices as well and they're going to be like I don't think I should go this way unless I have to. They may find other ways or other routes to go around the toll itself," said Anderson.
This study is also looking at ways to measure the economic impact of tolls. Mallory says while passing this legislation, they talked about ways they can help those in need.
"If they're willing to give people transponders for a certain period or offer low-income people transponders at a reduced price, I think that would be helpful," said Mallory.
Once the study is complete, and if tolls seem like the best option on the table, the state could set the price based on where the driver is coming from, vehicle type, or even time of day.
As part of the study, consultants will hold public meetings in Cincinnati and here in Covington to gather input from local residents.

Ohio and Kentucky are both expected to foot the bill for this study which is scheduled to take place in the next couple weeks.

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