The bi-state bridges authority has approved a financing plan that calls for tolls to pay for roughly half of the 4.1 billion dollar bridges project. The move has inspired an opposition group to reach out to the Kentucky General Assembly for help blocking tolls.
The financing plan isn’t yet complete. For example, it doesn’t say which bridges will be tolled, and the authority needs federal approval to toll existing bridges. Shawn Reilly with the group Say No To Bridge Tolls says he’s found a legislator who will sponsor a bill to stop such tolls on the state level.
That could lead to a reworking of the project. Authority members have said they won’t drop any part of the plan to build two new bridges and rework Spaghetti Junction in part because it would require years of studying and planning. But Reilly says a similar project in St. Louis was revised fairly quickly.
“They did not need to do a new environmental impact study and they did not need a new record of decision,” he says. “They worked inside their record of decision. So we can model our project after what they did with the Mississippi River Bridges Project.”
Authority co-chair Kerry Stemler says the project will not change, and the financing plan will be updated further.
“There is a lot that needs to be discussed and researched and we will continue to do that in 2011,” he says.