Friday, August 20, 2010

$3 Spaghetti Special

There's literally no end to this "toll everything" dumbness.  The unelected, unaccountable board charged with finding ways to raise funding to pay for the Ohio River Bridges Project (ORBP) has come up with yet another way to dig into motorists' pockets: Toll Spaghetti Junction. Here's a press release from Say NO To Bridge Tolls:

During today's meeting of the Louisville Southern Indiana Bridges Authority in Prospect, Ky, Wilbur Smith and Associates presented detailed tolling scenarios including plans to toll Louisville's Spaghetti Junction with toll rates as high as $3. The plan Wilbur Smith presented would have local drivers paying a toll every time they drive through Spaghetti Junction. Say NO to Bridge Tolls co-founder Shawn Reilly said, "Tolling Spaghetti Junction would be just as epic a mistake as tolling existing Ohio River bridges. The benefits just don't outweigh the costs. Forcing the working people of our community to pay for this boondoggle is just insane."

When asked about the Wilbur Smith study as a reliable predictor of revenue, Reilly said "Tolling studies like this one are almost always wrong. The Denver Post has already uncovered that, yet here we are in Louisville being asked to rely on one and it just doesn't make any sense."

During a break in the meeting, Kerry Stemler, Co-Chairman of the Authority, told a journalist there's "no stone we shouldn't be looking under" to find funding options for the project. Yet when asked about opening up the record of decision, Stemler told reporters "We're focused strictly on the project at hand to finance the record of decision...the Authority is not looking at options." Curtis Morrison, with Say NO to Bridge Tolls said "It's inconceivable the Authority can claim to be looking at all options while insisting they aren't looking at all options." "Obviously, the project could be divided into affordable phases that don't require tolls, so they can't have it both ways." Morrison said.

Today, mayoral candidate Greg Fischer issued a statement on the idea of instituting tolls on Spaghetti Junction:

I’m all for creative funding ideas, but that’s the most outlandish thing I’ve ever heard,” Fischer said. “I won’t support that -- and the people of Louisville won’t support that.”

It should be noted that Fischer is a supporter of tolling existing and new bridges, but not the "Spaghetti Junction". While nice, that just isn't good enough.

What is also becoming clear is "the people of Louisville" do not support the project as a whole if tolling is included. Will they ever listen? Please leave your thoughts in the "comments" section.

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