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An Architect’s Thoughts On The Bridges Meeting

December 14th, 2010 by jake · 6 Comments

Steve Wiser, a local architect and historian, has some thoughts on the Bridges Authority meeting held yesterday:

Tolls are needed on all bridges to pay for this $4 billion dollar project.

BUT – is this $4 billion dollar project needed if tolls on all bridges is the only way to pay for it?

This is the dilemma we face today.

Are we better off, or worse off, if all bridges are tolled?

No community in America has tolled their bridges in this manner. We are essentially cutting ourselves in half.


Do you think Nashville, Indianapolis, or Cincinnati would cut their region in half like this?

We will be conducting a societal experiment never before tried in urban planning. Once you open this Pandora’s Box, you will not be able to close it. I feel many negative consequences will result from it.

I regularly cross the bridge several times a week for shopping and dining. If tolls are passed, I will greatly limit by bridge crossings.

Read the rest from Wiser after the jump…

I have prepared a commentary entitled “A Bridges Reality Check” that I will hope you will read. (For those wanting to read it, it is on my website)

Several of the conclusions are that building only the East End Bridge will carry MORE cross-river traffic than if we built both the new downtown and East End Bridge together – this is per the Bridge Authority’s own “Environmental Impact Statement”. And, the community overwhelming supports the East End Bridge.

Per a recent news report, supersizing highways leads to more accidents, and not less.


And, per the recent news article on job loss in the community, one of the recommendations is to improve regional cooperation. How will tolls do that?

This community needs long-term jobs and tolls will only harm economic development.

There are other options we can implement to achieve this same goal such as separating the project and building local-access bridges. And, I’m in favor of tolling the East End Bridge.

I am a half-glass full optimist, but if tolls on all bridges is approved, I hate to say it but, I will be a half-glass empty pessimist. I hope you do not sign a death warrant for this community.

Tags: Debate · Economy · Ohio River Bridges · Politics · Travel

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 tbrauch // Dec 14, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    I could be in favor of an East End toll, though I thought the money to build that bridge was already there. However, if the toll is too high, people will continue to go through downtown to avoid the toll. Then, I think about the Pennsylvania turnpike and the Jersey turnpike and know that people are willing to pay a decent sum of money for convenience.

    That’s the biggest sticking point for me. Tolling the existing bridges means there is no alternative to get from Indiana to Kentucky without an additional fee. I suppose you could drive up to the Kentucky Motor Speedway and cross the river there and drive back to New Albany to avoid the toll, but that’s not really feasible. An unavoidable toll really does not sit well with me

  • 2 Jeff Gillenwater // Dec 14, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I agree, tbrauch. That’s what makes them a functional tax rather than the “user fee” they’re trying to sell them as. If we had multiple, viable transportation options, tolls wouldn’t have as much impact. The options should come before the tolls.

    As is, they’re discussing creating a monopoly and possibly handing it over to a private entity for decades.

  • 3 GtownReader // Dec 14, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    The committee members & their supporters – and even some of John Q. Public – seem never to recognize that some very, very poor people also reside in Kentuckiana. These folks may daily or just occasionally NEED to cross a bridge. Some retirees, disabled, unemployed, & underemployed, as well as some outright bums, often face financial crises just to insure & put gas in their vehicles. If an emergency should arise requiring a bridge-crossing, like hospitalization of a loved one, some may not even have cash for a gallon of milk, much less a $2 round-trip toll, until their next pay check. BTW, if all large trucks going THRU Lou. are mandated to the East End bridge, then tolls will be paid.

  • 4 Joey B // Dec 15, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Why wouldn’t anyone not wanting to pay a toll simply use Second Street???

  • 5 matty ice // Dec 15, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Because the current plan calls for a toll on the Second Street bridge, too.

  • 6 Carter Burger // Dec 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Why do we have to do all this at once? From what I can tell, the priority is the east end bridge. Build that one. then when we have the money to pay for it, build the downtown bridge. This is going to be a clusterfuck. I see people going to Cincy to get to Indy now just to avoid the tolls. My trips to southern Indiana will be cut back considerably.

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