Metro Council members are now joining the call for no more tolls on Louisville’s bridges.
A bipartisan group of seven council members, including Council President David James, are sponsoring a resolution calling for governors and legislators of Kentucky and Indiana to apply for federal infrastructure funds to pay off Louisville’s tolled bridges.
Mayor Greg Fischer and Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore previously also joined forces to ask Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb to seek the funding.
These Louisville-area lawmakers are acting in response to Beshear’s announcement with Ohio Gov. Mark DeWine earlier this month that the two states would be applying for $2 billion in federal funding to erect a non-tolled companion bridge to Cincinnati’s overburdened Brent Spence Bridge.
The money comes from the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by Congress last year.
Kentucky and Indiana are both eligible to apply for $12.5 billion set aside to pay for economically significant bridges around the country and $16 billion for major projects that would deliver “substantial economic benefits to communities.”
The council members sponsoring the resolution include five Democrats (James, Markus Winkler, Mark Fox, Keisha Dorsey and Jecorey Arthur) and two Republicans (Anthony Piagentini and Scott Reed).
The resolution will be heard today in Metro Council’s public works committee.
Mayor Fischer previously told LEO that the situation is a matter of equity, because Louisville and Southern Indiana paid to construct new bridges, while Northern Kentucky and Ohio waited for federal dollars.
“Our people and our businesses deserve this,” he said. “We shouldn’t be penalized for stepping out and believing in ourselves several years ago now, and I hope we can get it done.”
When LEO asked Gov. Beshear’s office for comment earlier this month, a spokesperson for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said that the state government was “looking forward to determining all the possible uses of federal dollars” but also that there will be restrictions on that money.
KYTC’s Deputy Executive Director of Public Affairs Chuck Wolfe also said that Louisville is already expected to get “significant funding” from the infrastructure bill, including investments in electrical vehicle charging stations, public transit, high-speed internet access, airports and water and sewer upgrades.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly said that the resolution would be heard at Metro Council’s committee on committees. It was heard at the council’s public safety committee.
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