In an 86-7 vote on Wednesday, the Ohio House passed legislation to toll the Brent Spence Bridge, which connects Covington, Ky. and Cincinnati, to raise revenues to make needed repairs to the structure. The bridge also connects Interstates 71 and 75 from Ohio into Kentucky, and carries about 175,000 vehicles a day.
Reps. Ross McGregor, R-Springfield, praised the passage of the bill. “Building a new bridge and eliminating the backups and congestion that exist today will allow our business owners to save money and hire more people,” McGregor said in a press statement.
Officials estimate that about $417 billion in goods are transported across the bridge each year.
The toll, if finally passed by the Ohio Senate, would allow the state Department of Transportation to implement electronic tolling in order to reconstruct the bridge. Improvements would include doubling the bridge’s capacity and address ongoing safety and traffic concerns.
According to the Federal Highway Administration’s National Bridge Inventory, the Brent Spence Bridge is classified as functionally obsolete, meaning the design of the structure is not in line with current practice. The 8 lane bridge opened in 1963 and is expected to face a 55 percent increase in annual daily traffic by 2032.
The proposed toll in the bill is differentiated by class, with $1 for local commuters, $2 for non-local motorists and up to $12 for trucks. The tolls would apply to all bridge spans under the current legislation.