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Metro Council Committee takes a stand against some tolls

In a unanimous vote that parallels Louisvillians views on tolling existing interstates to pay for the bloated Ohio River Bridges Project, Metro Council's Transportation and Public Works Committee took a stand and injected some reason and commonsense into the Bridges Project. Well done!

Read about it here.

So will the unelected Bridges Authority ignore our pleas for reason? Let's hope so.

What do the Mayoral Candidates have to say? It came up in yesterday's debate. While some people want to wait for the Bridges Authority to tell us what we can afford, it's worth mentioning that the Arena is already suffering from financial shortfalls due to poor forecasting. The arena opens next month.

LOVE LEO

Seriously, whether you love or hate LEO Weekly, we all should be glad it gives a voice to so many people who don't seem to be represented in other local media outlets. Our paper, for example.

Please take a minute to read today's Jerry's Kids. From today's LEO:

"When asked if the Democrat's "plan B" remark indicates his support for the project is waning, Fischer campaign spokesman Chris Poynter responded via e-mail: "Greg supports the entire bridges project -- both bridges." The entire project entails building an East End bridge, a downtown bridge and re-configuring Spaghetti Junction.

In a recent poll by cn|2 Politics, however, more than 50 percent of Louisville voters said they support building only an East End bridge more than any other combination of the project. And some Fischer supporters believe the bridges project is becoming their candidate's glaring weakness."

CN2 Poll: 14.5% support the ORBP

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The Courier-Journal has not done a poll on bridge alternatives since 1996. Luckily, CN2 polled the issue and the results are dramatic.

According to a newly released poll, only 14.5% of Louisvillians support building two bridges. Here's a look at the results:

bridge-poll.png


View the entire poll (PDF). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out CN2's Mayoral Candidate videos to see how they responded to the poll. 

Please note, Spaghetti Junction is NOT the "11th worst bottleneck in the country." It's not even in the Top 100 bottlenecks!

Imagine how the project will poll when they ask about tolling Spaghetti Junction. It might just be time for a scaled down approach.

Reaction to $3 toll estimate

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The Bridges Authority tried to bury the news of a $3 toll estimate on a Friday afternoon, but citizens are paying attention and are tired of the ORBP boondoggle. You can read the report, but it's more interesting to read what the Mayoral candidates had to say about it.

Hal Heiner:

"This afternoon the Louisville Southern Indiana Bridges Authority submitted a report to the regional planning agency with estimated tolls of $6 per trip.  This would represent one of Louisville's largest tax increases and I will not support this rate.  While we realize this is a preliminary number, I urge the authority to work diligently to reduce this rate.  If $6 per trip is the only way the authority can build 2 bridges, then I believe we need to reduce the scope of the project by breaking it into more manageable phases with the east end bridge being the first phase of a multi phase project.  While I believe I-65 and Spaghetti Junction will ultimately have to be addressed, I find a $6 trip financially irresponsible and a burden Louisvillians will not accept."

Greg Fischer:

"We need to build the bridges and to create the thousands of jobs that come with it - but a $3 toll is simply too much"

OK, now we're getting somewhere. The question is, what are we going to do about it? 

Here's what we had to say about it:

"It's time to divide this boondoggle of a project and build the east end bridge without tolls. We ask Greg Fischer and Hal Heiner to stand united for this important regional infrastructure project"

LEO Weekly: Bridge to Division

In this week's LEO, writer Steve Shaw covers the state of the ORBP's financing options. Attending last week's Bridges Authority meeting, he updates readers on the Bridges Project boondoggle:

"Last Thursday, the Ohio River Bridges Project Bi-State Authority heard impassioned pleas to finance and build the East End bridge first; downsize the demolition and expansion of Spaghetti Junction; not to toll existing bridges; not to toll any bridges; not to build a downtown bridge; and to scrap the project in favor of public transit."

Read the article on LEOWeekly

The end of the article also provided a curious quote from Candidate Greg Fischer:

"There's a lot of people that are excited about something that may not occur."

We'll try to seek clarification on that comment.

Candidate for Mayor Hal Heiner

Hal Heiner opted not to respond to our Mayoral Transportation Questionnaire in May, but his views on tolls and the East End Bridge appear to be solidifying. This video was posted to CN|2 yesterday:

We will be on the lookout for similar coverage on Greg Fischer's views. Mr. Fischer was the only candidate who said he supported tolls on existing bridges.

8664's Mayoral Transportation Questionnaire

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On April 19th, we emailed a Transportation Questionnaire to all the Mayoral Candidates. Last weekend we received the final responses, so we've compiled the results. We'd like to thank the candidates and their campaigns for taking the time and responding to our questions about Louisville's transportation future.

Here's today's Press Release which began...

Mayoral candidates oppose the ORBP by a 2-to-1 margin

Strong agreement on the East End Bridge, opposition to tolls on existing bridges and reversible lanes on the 2nd Street Bridge.

Here's a link directly to the results in table form.

And here are the unedited individual questionnaire responses:
Tyler Allen (D)
Greg Fischer (D)
Jackie Green (I)
Hal Heiner (R) - refused
Jim King (D)
Lisa Moxley (D)
Jonathon Robertson (R)
David Tandy (D)
Chris Thieneman (R)
Shannon White (D)

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  • Anonymous: I see spagetti getting fatter, wider, bigger and taller. What read more
  • 8664: This is crazy. We don't even need another downtown bridge. read more
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  • steven: Check it out, you guys won the 'your big idea read more
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