BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION: Ky. lawmakers try to figure out way to pay for Brent Spence Bridge

Tolls, sales-tax increase are on the table; span will cost $2.5 billion to construct

Bridges News The Cincinnati Enquirer September 03, 2013
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Lawmakers in Kentucky are debating whether to tax the whole state, or just the ones who will use the Brent Spence Bridge as a whole.


Facing deteriorating gas-tax receipts, some in the state legislature want to increase the Kentucky sales tax from 6 cents per dollar to 7 cents. The move would generate 42% more for road and bridge construction than the state gas tax, which stands at 32.3 cents, while at the same time lower the price at the pump by 10 cents a gallon. At stake is the Brent Spence Bridge, which carries a $2.5 billion price tag. The sales tax increase would help pay for the span that would connect Ohio with northern Kentucky.


However, it is not clear if an amendment would be needed to make such a change. In the 1930s, the Kentucky state constitution was amended to make sure fuel taxes were used for highway projects. If the state wants to eliminate the charge, similar action might have to be taken.


The other option is tolling the Brent Spence Bridge, a move that would burden residents of northern Kentucky.


“The challenge is that the remainder of the state will not want to pay an extra penny on sales tax to build a bridge in northern Kentucky,” Ky. State Rep. Joe Fischer told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “We’ll have to talk it up. If the tea party gets behind it statewide, that would be something that would have to be considered.”


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