Just as interesting is the comment about the story from "Thad Miller."
"No one disputes a new bridge is needed."
I dispute this. Numerous studies have shown over 63% of traffic on that bridge is local. Give drivers alternatives besides the automobile and you can reduce the local traffic, and no new bridge is needed.
Make a bigger bridge, and you invite more people to drive. And in 30 years....guess what, a new, even bigger bridge will be needed.
We need to break this region of its love affair with the automobile, highways and parking garages.
and this from "Justin Holton":
The entire MetroMoves light rail/streetcar/bus system was $2.1 billion in 2002. I'm sure $2.5 billion could build a light rail system that rivaled any city our size. Plus it would run on electricity (domestically produced) as opposed to oil (mostly foreign produced).
Well, Thad, I disagree. It is not at all time to break our "love affair" with the automobile. Reducing local traffic won't eliminate the need for replacing the bridge. And your assumption that "alternatives" will actually reduce local traffic on the bridge is a flawed assumption.
First, the only mass transit system big enough to really pull traffic off our most important highway would be a light rail system. Right now the only semi-serious light rail plan is the I-71 corridor from King's Island to the Airport. How does that rail line help pull bridge traffic off I-75? Fact is, people west and east of the city will not be able to use an I-71 line in any practical way, so we would need several branches to make light rail a serious carrier of people in our region. Not only would the costs for such a system run into the billions (basically ending your idea of saving money on delaying the bridge) the time frame for building light rail would be roughly 20 years. And by that time, the I-75 bridge will need replacing simply out of old age. Under your plan, we would end up spending for highway upkeep AND a new light rail system.
And Justin, I'm sorry, but the MetroMoves concept actually was estimated to cost more than $4 billion to complete the multiple light rail lines it envisions.
Fact is, light rail has been shot down -- hard -- by two public votes in Hamilton County. And Hamilton County isn't the whole region. Politically, you can forget about Butler and Warren counties voting for higher taxes for light rail. Likewise Northern Kentucky. But all those places need to buy in if we are serious about regional light rail. Remember all those suburbanites who railed against the puny $200 million city-only streetcar plan? Imagine how they'd react to paying higher taxes for a light rail system that will cost up to 20 times more than the streetcar ever will. So get real, OK?
I do agree with you Justin on one of your points. It would be better to rely on domestic electricity to fuel our transportation versus foreign oil-based gasoline. But the best way to do that is to support the transition to electric cars, not electric trains. A train system will NEVER under ANY remotely likely circumstances be as effective as our existing road system. We have roads. We have to maintain those roads. So let's make the road system greener by running electric cars -- and buses -- on them. Of course you'll have to get past some narrow-minded enviros who hate coal so much that they oppose electric cars -- regardless of the homegrown jobs the transition would create.
Bus transit, by the way, remains far more effective than train transit for our region. To the extent that we need public transit at all, a bus system completely fills the need. If we really want to take cars off the highways during rush hours, the way to do that is with bus rapid transit (BRT), which can be implemented at a fraction of the cost and much less time than it would take to build light rail. We could start limited BRT right now, simply by buying the buses, setting up park-n-rides at several of our regional shopping malls and putting the transit tunnel under Third Street to proper use. Match that up with various forms of electric car sharing and you could have a very green transit system that would make it much more practical to attempt to live in our region without a car.
But the rail fanatics just hate bus transit. And that's too bad. If you truly want greener transit, you should take what's realistic and make some real progress instead of spending years arguing about light rail.
Meanwhile, about those tolls...
I-75 is a federal highway -- a very important highway for the nation's economy. So it should be a federal job to replace the bridge. A toll system to generate local funds simply allows our local Congresspeople to shirk their duties to this region. Don't fall for it.