From the Courier-Journal:
River Fields Inc., the same small special interest group that in the last few years has opposed and delayed, mostly through lawsuits against federal, state and Metro government agencies: the Ohio River Bridges Project of Kentucky and Indiana; the rebuilding of the Harrods Creek Bridge; a sewer project on Upper River Road; and who knows what else?
River Fields' constant use of lawsuits has cost the taxpayers many thousands of dollars, countless jobs, and tax revenue.
Imagine my surprise when River Fields recently held a major fundraising event, where federal, state and Metro government officials (both elected and appointed) were in attendance! Government officials who may have influence in the decisions concerning both public and private projects.
I will not waste time questioning potential conflicts of interest or ethical conduct of our government officials who attended. We all know that they are never influenced by special interest groups, monies or gifts. I simply pose a question to all government officials who attended the River Fields fundraiser:
Did you buy the expensive tickets with your money or taxpayers' money? Worse yet, were your tickets a gift from River Fields?
Lastly, I suggest that anyone about to get involved in a public or private project save yourself a lot of money and time by first calling Meme Runyon, executive director of River Fields, and ask for her permission. We can all trust River Fields to protect us from ourselves!
In the interest of full disclosure, I am the operator of a restaurant on River Road in Prospect, a business severely affected by the closing of the Harrods Creek Bridge, almost one year ago.
Michael A. Francis
The Ohio River Bridges Project officially began in 2003 when the Federal Highway Administration issued a decision approving the construction of two bridges to span the one-mile gap between Louisville and Indiana. Six years and several lawsuits later, construction is still a distant dream.
With a recent lawsuit brought on by River Fields Inc., the project is increasingly becoming a fading possibility. The projected cost at the beginning of the project was over $4.1 billion for the two bridges and associated interstate modifications, with an estimated completion time of over 20 years. With two bridges each spanning approximately a mile, the cost will be a little over $2 billion per mile, and each mile will take at least 10 years.
On the other side of the world, another bridge project is launching. The Qatar-Bahrain Friendship Causeway will connect the west coast of Qatar to the east coast of Bahrain. At a total span of over 13 miles, it will be the largest bridge in the world. Construction is scheduled to begin next year. The projected total cost to build the largest bridge in the world? $5 billion. Estimated time to completion? Four-and-a-half years. Around $384 million dollars per mile, almost three miles per year.