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Ohio River Bridges Debacle Friday News Dump

April 20th, 2012 by jake · 13 Comments

This, from a KYTC release:

Jose Sepulveda, Kentucky division administrator for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), signed the Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement (Supplemental FEIS) for the project, which involves construction of two bridges and reconstruction of the Kennedy interchange.

So what’d KYTC do?

Sent out two photos of the guy signing the thing, which we actually discussed yesterday:



Yep. An issue so important and they sent along two photos of some guy signing a document.

John Yarmuth also said this in a release:

“Over the past decade or more, the people of the Commonwealth and the region have considered and adjudicated this project,” Yarmuth said. “There is no legitimate reason for further delay. I urge the state Senate to approve funds for the Ohio River Bridges Project, and put Kentucky back on the road of progress.”

Yep, sit down and shut up, kids, no reason to question anything. River Fields says so.

Oh, wait, here’s what Steve Beshear had to say:

“I appreciate the prompt action of the Federal Highway Administration in reviewing and approving our supplemented environmental document for the Ohio River Bridges Project. This should give added assurance to the citizens of Kentucky and Indiana that this critical project, which will create thousands of jobs in the near future and for generations to come, is at long last on track toward construction.”

But about those alleged jobs? We covered that yesterday:

“As shown, construction of the LSIORB Project would result in a shift in permanent employment within the LMPA, and a decrease of 78 in total employment over the No-Action Alternative. By the year 2030, a shift of almost 12,000 employees from Kentucky into Indiana could potentially occur as a result of the project. It is anticipated that these employees would shift away from Jefferson and Oldham counties and move into Clark and Floyd counties.”

Happy Friday news dump!

UPDATE – From State Rep. Reggie Meeks:

Rep. Jim Wayne and I questioned info – known to the Transportation Cabinet Secretary – involving the prospect of future tolling of the Sherman-Minton Bridge. A report shows that in 2031, there is a sudden jump in revenue for the Ohio River Bridges Project – a project that will be tolled. It was that revenue spike in 2031 that caused our Q: Is there a potential at some point of tolling Sherman-Minton? The Cabinet’s response was contradictory. Once again, as policy makers we found ourselves being told, “Trust Me” by the Cabinet. Boys and girls, I assure you,any criticism you may have of a government that says, trust me pales in comparison to the cynicism of us Doubting Thomas’ IN government! We are asked to rely on that stale tune, make sound public policy decisions based on it, and then come home and face a critical public! In an election year when it’s all about winning your upcoming election, there’s little wonder why most legislators are not willing to take tough votes – and little wonder why road projects that bring home the bacon are slipped into budgets…

Ouch.

Tags: Hype · John Yarmuth · Ohio River Bridges · State Government · Steve Beshear

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 The Highlander // Apr 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Q: Why didn’t Kentucky just let Indiana pay for both bridges, since Indiana is predicted to be the major beneficiary of all this — then we’d have saved a couple billion?
    A: The Kentucky politicians are too dumb to think beyond the end of their nose (which gets longer all the time [a/la Pinnochio]).

  • 2 markp // Apr 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    No need for tolls. Build only an east end bridge. Watch how congestion diminishes in downtown Louisville and then build another bridge in South end of Louisville and exted 265 in Southern Indiana into Harrison county and make a full loop of 265. That’s logical but politicians in the pocket of River Fields can’t do logicial things. Polls simply aren’t needed or wanted.

  • 3 markp // Apr 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Tolls not polls. Sorry!

  • 4 Jeff Gillenwater // Apr 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I wouldn’t trust River Fields with $5, but what if their lawsuit ends up being the only real obstacle to this boondoggle?

    We know the requisite politicos won’t do it. Even Yarmuth sold us out.

  • 5 jake // Apr 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I’d like to point out to the Yarmuth Campaign staffers from 2006 who told me I was wrong.

    I made it clear (in a hallway during a debate) that I didn’t think 8664 had a shot in the dark at stopping anything, that even John Yarmuth would end up supporting the monster mess and it would be liberal Democrats who ended up screwing the pooch.

    Guess what happened?

    Mmm hmmm.

  • 6 stunoland // Apr 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Those of us who understand statistics are seriously concerned about our community’s ability to pay back over $700 million in bonds. In the CDSmith preliminary toll studies the Value of Time assumption for Louisville, KY was 66% higher than was used for the Washington, D.C. metro area in 2009, where median income is $72,800. Their model actually predicts the same amount of river-crossings in a toll-free scenario as under a $3 tolling scenario. This fails the common sense test. CDSmith’s track record displays an extreme level of optimism bias. The last 12 tolling studies done by this firm have been off by a collective 127%. The estimated revenue was more than double what the states actually collected in tolls. It is blatantly obvious to anyone paying attention that the 2/3rds tolling scenario is fatally flawed. The revenues from tolls will not be adequate to cover the bond payments and with the data indicating toll revenue starts dropping at raise just over $2, it will be necessary to toll additional points. CDSmith, both state’s transportation cabinets, and local leadership are fully aware that the Sherman-Minton bridge must be tolled and possibly spaghetti junction. It is not legal or ethical to intentionally distort important financial projections but our city’s complacent local media will not hold them accountable.

  • 7 stunoland // Apr 20, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    It is sad that our leadership is intentionally creating a fiscal crisis in approx. 2020 to fund a project that the public does not support (the downtown ORBP). It is blatantly obvious to anyone paying attention that the 2/3rds tolling scenario is fatally flawed. Toll rates will be raised and the existing Sherman-Minton bridge will be tolled, If those measure do not result in a fiscally solvent project there will be tolls on spaghetti junction. All of this illegal and unethical deception is being used to build a project that is undeniably regressive.

  • 8 Debbie // Apr 21, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Stu, I think your comments regarding intentional distortion of fiancial projections is correct. Riverfields has tryed consistently to get the truth of the funding packaging out to the public. Riverfields uses the public process to comment and exchange ideas just like you and me. They have kept alot of very greedy people from steamrolling this project right over the people who are now asking questions. Follow the money and see who stands to gain….Indiana.
    Who loses Kentucky. Maybe you believe in regionalism but I don’t. I want Kentucky jobs to stay in Kentucky.

  • 9 stunoland // Apr 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Yes Debbie I believe in regionalism primarily because it is the consensus opinion among economics and urban planners. Smart cities grow 360 degree around an urban core and the eastern part of Clark Co. has elements that enable the attraction of companies that would otherwise not consider our region. Riverfields has done more than any other group to jack up the cost of this project and to keep public and expert opinion from guiding this project. Riverfields has used immense resources to subvert democracy and fraudulently list a property on the national historic registry. The result is that we have a project that is blatantly regressive in favor of Riverfields and our community is set up for a fiscal crisis 2 years after this project opens. The people of Riverfields should be ashamed of themselves.

  • 10 stunoland // Apr 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm

  • 11 G'town Reader // Apr 22, 2012 at 12:50 am

    Was the demise of TV station WBKI also in the “Friday news dump?”

  • 12 Debbie // Apr 22, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Stu, we agree to disagree on regionalism. You can not blame riverfields for participating in the public process, even if you disagree with it I am sure you would support public input by all parties. The funding is not in place to build two bridges and I don’t think tolling is the way to make it happen. I have read and watched your video and I can tell how passionate you are on the subject but I still honestly disagree with you. Peace.

  • 13 The Highlander // Apr 23, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Why is this guy so sad. Does he have a hemorrhoid from lifting his Report?

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