Kasich plans to keep spending on bridge project

Ohio Gov. John Kasich delivers his State of the State address at the Performing Arts Center, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, in Medina, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Ohio Gov. John Kasich delivers his State of the State address at the Performing Arts Center, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, in Medina, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CINCINNATI (AP) – Ohio’s governor says the state will keep moving ahead on a major Ohio River bridge project that’s in funding trouble on the Kentucky side.

Gov. John Kasich told The Cincinnati Enquirer for a story published Tuesday that he still has confidence there will be funding from Kentucky, which has control of the bridge.

Kentucky legislators are opposing tolls to help pay for a project estimated at $2.6 billion. Ohio has committed $84 million to bridge-related highway work, including overhauling Interstate 75 just north of the river.

“I don’t want to slow down anything,” Kasich said. “Let’s get done what we need to get done. What I don’t want to do is say, ‘OK, we’re just going to kind of stop things now to see what happens over there.’ That, to me, would not be good public policy.”

Kasich said he believes Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and others will figure out a way to come up with the funding.

“I can’t give you the timeline, but they can’t sit there and say, ‘We’re not going to have it.’ I mean, come on. That’s not probable. I know it’s going to get done.”

Of his Democratic counterpart, Ohio’s Republican governor said: “I believe that Beshear will get this done. They’ll figure it out.”

The five-decade-old, double-decker bridge between Cincinnati and Covington, Ky., is considered functionally obsolete because of excessive traffic, narrow lanes, lack of emergency shoulders and other issues. It’s been cited by President Barack Obama as an example of the nation’s need to upgrade outdated infrastructure.

Northern Kentucky business leaders have expressed support for using tolls for funding. Some Kentucky lawmakers say tolls would hit daily northern Kentucky commuters hard.

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