A recent survey of AAA members in Hamilton County and Northern Kentucky shows overwhelming support for a new Brent Spence Bridge.
The 49-year old bridge has been declared "functionally obsolete" by federal transportation officials because of deficiencies caused by increased traffic and congestion. More than 175,000 vehicles cross the Brent Spence Bridge daily.
However, AAA members are divided on whether tolls should be used to fund the bridge's replacement. Here are some key findings from the AAA survey:
Use of the bridge
The Brent Spence has a major impact on the region with 75% of overall respondents using the bridge either sometimes or daily. The greatest impact is on Kentucky respondents
who are more likely to use the bridge daily.
82% of Kentucky members use the bridge, 33% of them every day
71% of Ohio members use the bridge, 7% of them every day
Need for a new bridge
There is overwhelming support for the idea of building a new bridge, with no significant difference between Ohio and Kentucky members. Those in favor of the new bridge believe it will help relieve traffic congestion on I-75.
More than 90% of members are in favor of a new bridge
More than 90% of Kentucky members are in favor of a new bridge, 60% of them are "strongly" in favor of a new bridge
More than 90% of Ohio members are in favor of a new bridge, nearly 55% of them are "strongly" in favor of a new bridge
Safety of the bridge
Safety appears to be one of the driving factors in member support for a new bridge, with nearly two-thirds of overall respondents indicating concern about driving on the bridge. Kentucky members were slightly more likely to have the safety concerns.
65% of Kentucky members believe that it is either somewhat or very dangerous to drive on the Brent Spence Bridge
60% of Ohio members believe it is either somewhat or very dangerous to drive on the Brent Spence Bridge
Using tolls to fund the bridge
The region is divided on the idea of tolls, with 48% of overall respondents in support but 52% against. There are marked differences on opposite sides of the river with only 41% of Kentucky members supporting tolls compared to 52% supporting tolls in Ohio.
Nearly one-third of overall respondents say they are strongly against tolls
59% of Kentucky members are against using tolls to fund the project
48% of Ohio members are against using tolls to fund the project
Using taxes to fund the bridge
There is strong opposition to the idea of a sales tax to help fund the Brent Spence Bridge project. The opposition is slightly higher among Ohio members at 72% versus 69% of Kentucky respondents. There is even less support for the idea of using a gas tax with 74% of Kentucky members and 73% of Ohio members against it.
71% of overall respondents oppose a sales tax to fund the project
72% of overall respondents oppose a gasoline tax increase to fund the project
Condition of the bridge
The overall opinion of the bridge's condition is not positive, with no significant variation
. between Ohio and Kentucky member opinions.
76% of Kentucky members say the condition of the Brent Spence Bridge is "only fair" or "poor"
78% of Ohio members say the condition of the Brent Spence Bridge is "only fair" or "poor"
More than 22% of overall respondents say the Brent Spence Bridge is in "good" or "excellent" condition.
"It was important for us to communicate to decision makers how AAA members feel about what is arguably the most important transportation project in the nation," said James L. "Chip" Pease, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AAA Allied Group, Inc. "A new bridge will clearly improve driving safety and diminish gridlock, but the necessary local funding decisions will need careful consideration."
As an organization, AAA generally prefers that all roads be toll-free and also recognizes that the realities of today's infrastructure funding requirements will likely mean some percentage of local funding.
The Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition reviewed the results
of the recent AAA survey regarding the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor
"This survey shows that people in our region overwhelmingly
support the need for a new bridge now and we cannot wait any longer to improve
safety, decrease congestion and move our region forward. This confirms
the Coalition's mission – to build it faster, cheaper and with the most
community benefit – and sends a strong message to our elected officials to find
a reasonable, realistic and fair solution to the bridge problem now," said Libby Korosec, campaign and
communications director, Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition, in a statement.
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