Friday, July 23, 2004

Brent Spence project could get more money


Bigger transportation bill in works

By James Pilcher
Enquirer staff writer

A compromise by the White House Thursday over federal highway funding has local advocates of the Brent Spence Bridge replacement hoping it could mean more money for the project here.

A preliminary estimate for replacing the 40-year-old bridge is $750 million, and area business and political leaders have been pushing for money for almost two years.

"This is a very good sign," said Gary Toebben, president of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the agency that has led the charge to replace the cramped bridge.

While the House version of the bill being debated includes just $4 million for the project in the next six years, local officials are hopeful that more money can be allocated now that the overall highway funding level might grow.

That could help finish extensive environmental and design work that remains to be done, a process that could take five years and cost as much as 5-10 percent of the total. Then money for construction could be allocated the next time the six-year law is renewed.

"My guess is that there would be sufficient funds to keep the momentum going on the Brent Spence Bridge project," said Mark Policinski, executive director of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, the area's main transportation planning agency. "This is a nine-inning game, and we're in the second inning, and we just scored the first run. We're in the bill, and that's what's important."

Wednesday, the White House indicated to the House-Senate conference committee working on the bill that it would accept a $299 billion allocation over six years - a figure that would be $286 billion after certain contracts were voided.

Previously, the Bush administration had indicated that the president would veto any levels above $256 billion.

The conference committee said it would negotiate the levels further and extend the current law until September, when a new bill could emerge.

The House version of the bill called for $275 billion, while the Senate version called for $318 billion.

E-mail jpilcher@enquirer.com




TOP STORIES
How do you move a 109-ton fountain?
Brent Spence project could get more money
Educators swap vacations for levy campaigns
Families find vindication in 9-11 report
Consortium rallies suburbs
For sale: 'Like new' 4br, 3ba, lead gone!

IN THE TRISTATE
Boy, 5, suspect in death of baby
Butler Co. gets a freebie
HUD secretary encouraging on English Woods
Fairfield school levy gets a boost
Prosecutor unswayed by Innocence Project
Middletown fills council vacancy
Consultant bonuses criticized
Senate Democrats block votes on judges
Panel offers other uses for empty nursing beds
RiverTrek offers teens outdoors 'rite of passage'
Overnight rainstorm cuts power to 25,000
Task force traces trail of narcotics
Public safety briefs
Neighbors briefs
Local news briefs

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Downs: Bar-goers get together to watch TV
Good Things Happening

LIVES REMEMBERED
Jean Pierre Pineton, marquis, dies at 101

KENTUCKY STORIES
Controversial bin Laden stickers taken off Web site
Acid fumes spur closures
China peculiar topic in 67th
Cross- burning suspect in court
Dig this disk
Candidate's daughter quits state job
Principal hired despite pending charge
Kentucky's Human Rights director quits
Cross- burning triggers response
Northern Kentucky news briefs
Villa Hills chief isn't leaving
Man with gun robs Florence Arby's
5 robberies might be linked
Kentucky news briefs