Friday, February 27, 2004

Bunning clarifies stance on bridges

Senator equally favors spans in Louisville, N.Ky.

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Kentucky U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning acknowledged Thursday he may have misspoke last week in Louisville when he said construction of an Ohio River bridge there might have to be delayed because Northern Kentucky needs a new river span.

Louisville civic leaders were concerned when Bunning reportedly said that one of two bridges planned for the city would have to be delayed because money is needed to replace the Interstate 75 Brent Spence Bridge between Covington and Cincinnati.

After denying he made the comment last week at a luncheon in Louisville, Bunning sought to clarify his stance with a letter he sent to The Louisville Courier-Journal and released to reporters Thursday.

"If anyone takes away a different message from my recent remarks in Louisville, or if I misspoke and muddied the waters about my position, then I am sorry," Bunning, a Southgate Republican, said in the letter.

"But, the fact of the matter is, I support the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville. I always have and I always will," he said, adding that on six separate occasions since 1998 he supported funding for the projects.

In a conference call with reporters Thursday, Bunning said he is also continuing to push for funding to begin planning for the replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge, a project that could potentially cost close to $1 billion.

"We have to get some money in the (federal) six-year road plan before the Brent Spence Bridge falls into the river," he said.

"This takes nothing away from the bridges in Jefferson County. But it will be difficult" to get all the money needed at one time for all three bridges.

Sensing a political opportunity, state Sen. Dr. Daniel Mongiardo, a Hazard Democrat running for Bunning's seat, held a community forum on infrastructure Thursday night in Northern Kentucky.

"What happened this week only confirms why I'm running to replace Jim Bunning," Mongiardo said. "I'm not saying Jim Bunning is a bad guy, but I am saying he's letting us down as a U.S. senator.

"As a physician I have to be prepared, informed, decisive," he said. "I have to know what I'm talking about. Unfortunately, Jim Bunning doesn't."

Through a spokesman, Bunning declined to comment on Mongiardo's statement.


Applicants overrun colleges
Covington puts deal on table for Maisonette
Proposed Social Security cuts cause apprehension
Dowlin's campaign ad upheld
Complaint leads to diversity consultant

Many hands make blankets to give away
Victim's friends charged in slaying, dismemberment
Raymond Walters hosts film festival
Filmmaker wants change
Man accused of trying to lure girls into his vehicle
Dems united in criticisms
Some area fish unsafe to eat
Counselors on hand after student killed
Deupree House, neighbors near expansion agreement
Local man not quite 'Millionaire'
Neighbors briefs
Police museum a dream that needs more money
Public safety briefs
Democrats agree: Get more jobs
Networking expo kicks off today
Republican operatives promised bonuses
House approves fetal-rights bill

Downs: Abstaining from 'Sex' already hurts
Bonfield: Quality care can make health costs go down
Good Things Happening

Robert Huenefeld owned sign firm

Bunning clarifies stance on bridges
Bush pit stop nets $1M
Bush protest crowd displays variety of issues
Repair crew keeps homes of low-income livable
Bellevue-Dayton may cut one fire job
Rejected project returns - larger
Covington job fair seeks fully qualified teachers