"The day before the Bridges Authority votes to toll the region's interstate bridges to pay for the $4.1 Billion Ohio River Bridges Project, 8664 highlights interstate traffic trends. Traffic counts for Kentucky's interstates are reported by The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, so 8664 compiled a snapshot of interstate traffic volumes since the Record of Decision was signed in 2003. Declining traffic volumes on all three interstates (I-65/I-64/I-71) in close proximity to the Kennedy Bridge and Spaghetti Junction begs many questions. For example:
Why would we toll our bridges to expand Spaghetti Junction's capacity when demand is not increasing?
Why would we build a project based on gas prices of $1.50/gallon, when it's actually doubled in just seven years?
Why won't the Bridges Authority embrace public opinion and work to "divide and phase" the project?
"The pro-Bridges folks will try to say the decline is due to the bad economy, but it clearly has more to do with the price of gas." said JC Stites, 8664 Co-Founder. He went on to say, "Spaghetti Junction is not too small, it just has a couple design flaws that could be addressed quickly and cost effectively after an East End Bridge is build."
"At last Thursday's Bridges Authority meeting, Authority Secretary Sandra Frazier of Tandem Public Relations announced that the Bridges Authority would be discussing the 8664 alternative and a bridge project in St. Louis that was scaled down to avoid tolls at their next meeting. Clearly there are new reasons for reconsidering the $4.1 Billion Ohio River Bridges Project.
"With last week's poll showing only 15% of Louisvillians support building two bridges, coupled with the overwhelmingly negative reaction to tolling Spaghetti Junction, it's clearly time to look for better options" said JC Stites, 8664 Co-Founder. According to Insight Communications' recent poll, while only 14.5% supports building both bridges, a combined total of 64.6% support building the East End Bridge."
This is exciting news for anyone who wants to see Louisville progress and find a more reasonable approach to solving our transportation needs. We have contacted the author of our Feasibility Study (Walter Kulash) and hope to have him here for the next meeting on October 7th.
Cynics have suggested that this politically-appointed board could have an ulterior motive, bringing up 8664 just to trash the idea. After all, the Authority's website says it "is not charged with changing the project's scope".
But we are going assume the best to go to the meeting with the full intention of presenting the case for a less expensive, more sustainable plan.
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.
Today, we issued a
Press Releaseand released
polling dataindicating strong support for the East End Bridge within Louisville Metro. Now is a critical time for the citizens and elected leaders of this city to make a smart and informed decision.
Today's articleÂ Study critical of 8664 proposalÂ lacks a lot of things. Journalistic integrity among them. The study released yesterdayÂ byÂ KYTC is unquestionably flawed. KYTC widened I-64 and I-71 into downtown. That's not in our plan. KYTC denies it's even in their plan.Â
Only the very last paragraph of the article speaks to this:
"But there are no plans to widen that stretch of interstate, according to Kentucky Transportation Cabinet chief of staff Mike Hancock. "That is not back on the table," he said."
They can't have it both ways.Â They can't say it's not going to happen, but then include it in the 8664 study. Check that. They can have it both ways in the Courier if Marcus Green covers it.
Louisville, KY - In response to 8664's Open Records Request in mid July, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet ("KYTC") release documents (ORBP_8664_Traffic_Review.pdf) revealing a contract with transportation consulting firm Wilbur Smith Associates to develop, review and present findings from a traffic study of the 8664 Plan. The agreement signed on February 13th, 2008, established a "not to exceed" cost of $49,922.25 and a completion date of March 18th.
On March 10th, KYTC Engineer Scott Thomson abruptly cancelled the study in an email stating, "We have received word to stop immediately any further work."
On Tuesday the Beshear administration released a state highway construction plan that dramatically shifts the funding priority away from the East End Bridge.
According to the Ohio River Bridges Project ("ORBP") Financing Plan released in January of this year, the East End Bridge was to receive 62% of Kentucky's 2008 through 2010 funds. By contrast, the Governor's Road Plan for the same period slashes funding for the East End Bridge to only 27%.
In real dollars, the shift is even more stark and troubling. Due to budget constraints, the Governor's Road Plan reduced the States commitment to the ORBP by $236 Million, compared to January's approved ORBP Financing Plan. Of the $236 Million reduction, $231 Million or 98% was taken away from the East End Bridge.