Bridges Authority Chooses New Chair, Anti-Toll Protests Continue

by Gabe Bullard on May 6, 2010

There was a shuffling of leadership in the Bi-State Bridges Authority Thursday. In the panel’s fifth meeting, the body added a new member to replace Chairman Joe Prather. The former Kentucky Transportation Secretary’s appointment was not confirmed by the state Senate.

The body then voted authority member Charles Buddeke as the new chair. Buddeke says he’s ready to lead the panel as it begins work on a financing plan for the bridges project, which will include two new bridges over the Ohio River in Louisville and a reworking of Spaghetti Junction.

“We are still very much a startup organization, but we’re making progress,” he says. “We fully expect that the strides we’ve made as an authority will gain speed very shortly when we have a strategic advisor in place.”

Several community members showed up at the meeting to speak about the project. Many of those who spoke in opposition were organized against the construction of a downtown bridge, the reconfiguration of Spaghetti Junction and the possible use of tolls to finance a portion of the project.

Among those opposed to tolls was James Moore.

“I think the tolls are a big negative,” he says. “You can see right now that interest is growing because nobody wants to pay tolls to cross existing bridges. So yeah, I think these guys are going to encounter a great deal of pushback.”

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