A recent survey of AAA members in Hamilton County and Northern Kentucky shows overwhelming support for a new Brent Spence Bridge.
The 49-year old bridge has been declared "functionally obsolete" by federal transportation officials because of deficiencies caused by increased traffic and congestion. More than 175,000 vehicles cross the Brent Spence Bridge daily.
However, AAA members are divided on whether tolls should be used to fund the bridge's replacement. Here are some key findings from the AAA survey:
Use of the bridge
The Brent Spence has a major impact on the region with 75% of overall respondents using the bridge either sometimes or daily. The greatest impact is on Kentucky respondents
who are more likely to use the bridge daily.
Need for a new bridge
There is overwhelming support for the idea of building a new bridge, with no significant difference between Ohio and Kentucky members. Those in favor of the new bridge believe it will help relieve traffic congestion on I-75.
Safety of the bridge
Safety appears to be one of the driving factors in member support for a new bridge, with nearly two-thirds of overall respondents indicating concern about driving on the bridge. Kentucky members were slightly more likely to have the safety concerns.
Using tolls to fund the bridge
The region is divided on the idea of tolls, with 48% of overall respondents in support but 52% against. There are marked differences on opposite sides of the river with only 41% of Kentucky members supporting tolls compared to 52% supporting tolls in Ohio.
Using taxes to fund the bridge
There is strong opposition to the idea of a sales tax to help fund the Brent Spence Bridge project. The opposition is slightly higher among Ohio members at 72% versus 69% of Kentucky respondents. There is even less support for the idea of using a gas tax with 74% of Kentucky members and 73% of Ohio members against it.
Condition of the bridge
The overall opinion of the bridge's condition is not positive, with no significant variation
. between Ohio and Kentucky member opinions.
"It was important for us to communicate to decision makers how AAA members feel about what is arguably the most important transportation project in the nation," said James L. "Chip" Pease, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AAA Allied Group, Inc. "A new bridge will clearly improve driving safety and diminish gridlock, but the necessary local funding decisions will need careful consideration."
As an organization, AAA generally prefers that all roads be toll-free and also recognizes that the realities of today's infrastructure funding requirements will likely mean some percentage of local funding.
The Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition reviewed the results of the recent AAA survey regarding the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project.
"This survey shows that people in our region overwhelmingly support the need for a new bridge now and we cannot wait any longer to improve safety, decrease congestion and move our region forward. This confirms the Coalition's mission – to build it faster, cheaper and with the most community benefit – and sends a strong message to our elected officials to find a reasonable, realistic and fair solution to the bridge problem now," said Libby Korosec, campaign and communications director, Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition, in a statement.
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