(Editor’s note: The original post incorrectly identified Shawn Reilly as a candidate for state senate. Reilly withdrew from the race.)
(Editor’s note: A version of this post was sent to the entire Kentucky legislature as an open letter.)
By Shawn Reilly
I am deeply concerned about the possible debt our state is going to be in for the next 50-plus years if we toll the Ohio River Bridges.
I am also concerned with the additional tax the tolls would place largely on Louisville, but also on all of Kentucky.
The current plan for the project is not fiscally responsible and needs to change to reflect our state’s budget.
There is way for Kentucky, Louisville and Indiana all to get what they want out of the Kentucky-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project. A simple plan that prevents us from going into debt for the next 50-plus years, along with stopping what could be one of the largest tax increases this state has seen.
The East End Bridge (is projected to) cost $1.3 billion dollars. Indiana has $432 million already committed to that bridge.
If the Kentucky Legislator would simply apply our $536 million to the construction of the East End Bridge, there would be a total of $968 million in funding.
East End Bridge Cost: $1.3 billion
Indiana Funding: $432 Million
+ Kentucky Funding: $536 Million
= Total Funding: $968 million (Only $332 million additional bonds needed)
The current plan calls for Kentucky to commit $536 million of traditional highway dollars to the extra downtown bridge.
The state has previously committed $236 million to the project and lawmakers must approve $50 million per year for the next six years – a combined total of $536 million.
All the Kentucky legislature has to do is redirect those dollars from the proposed extra downtown bridge to the new East End Bridge.
This is a simple plan, and it’s based on basic financial planning; Don’t buy more than you can afford and don’t go into debt when you don’t have to.
The East End Bridge would be built now, without tolls and without putting us in debt for the next 50-plus years. Everyone wins!
I hope that the legislature will take this plan into consideration as implementing it will be a big win for our state and a fiscally responsible way to build a bridge.
About Shawn Reilly: Shawn Reilly is co-founder of Say No To Bridge Tolls.