Brent Spence Bridge idea tossed around – Private financing sought, backers contend, since federal government won’t give $2.4B

ERLANGER – Transportation and business officials made a pitch Tuesday to Northern Kentucky leaders to allow for private financing for the Brent Spence Bridge. Otherwise, the new Interstate 71/75 bridge won’t get built before 2030, leaders with the Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet told a crowd at the Northern Kentucky Chamber’s Eggs ‘N Issues breakfast in Erlanger. The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has pushed for legislation in the Kentucky General Assembly for a public-private partnership to fund the $2.4 billion bridge project. But no legislator has come forward to sponsor such a bill, and many have said they oppose private financing that could lead to tolls. The federal government won’t allocate $2.4 billion for the bridge or raise the federal gas tax to do it, proponents of private financing said Tuesday. That means either allow for private funds to pay for the bridge or wait for the bridge traffic in the region to fill area highways with gridlock, said Johnna Reeder, vice president of community relations and economic development with Duke Energy and chairwoman of the Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition. More than 120 businesses in Greater Cincinnati have joined the coalition to push for a financing plan for the bridge. With some private financing, the new bridge could be built by 2018, proponents have said.

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