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Frankfort Local News

Kentucky House Reignites Bridge Tolling Debate

The prospect of bridge tolls is once again dominating the discussion of an infrastructure bill in the Kentucky General Assembly.

The House Budget Committee passed a road plan funding bill today. But before voting, lawmakers questioned the need for tolls on bridges in Louisville and Northern Kentucky.

Committee members asked whether the Sherman Minton Bridge in Louisville would be tolled to help fund new spans downtown and in the city’s east end. Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock says that was discussed, but it’s unlikely.

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Frankfort Local News

House Budget Committee Approves Road Plan

The Kentucky House budget committee has approved the next two-year road plan for the commonwealth.

The committee easily passed the plan and the Transportation Cabinet’s operating budget today.

The road plan funds many of Governor Steve Beshear’s big initiatives, such as widening both Interstate 65 around Bowling Green and the Mountain Parkway.

Bill sponsor Sannie Overly didn’t offer specific details about the committee’s changes to the measures, but says there are some.

“Well I mean a lot is sort of a vague term. It’s not identical, there are changes,” she says.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

McConnell Questions Motives Behind Obama Visit

Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., questioned the motives of President Obama’s planned visit to the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati, alleging it’s more about his re-election than solving the country’s economic woes.

The president is making a stop at the bridge on Thursday to rally support for his $447 billion American Jobs Act. The span connecting Kentucky to Ohio was cited in Mr. Obama’s speech before a joint session of Congress earlier this month as an example of the country’s crumbling infrastructure needs.

Political observers have spotlighted that the bridge connects the states of the president’s two chief rivals in Washington, McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., who have opposed the jobs plan.

McConnell says the visit shows the president is more interested in scoring political points than improving the economy or unemployment rate.

“President Obama may think the best way to distract people from the challenges we face is to stand near a bridge in a swing state and pit one group of Americans against another, and hope his critics look bad if they don’t go along with him. But I don’t think he’s fooling anybody,” he says.