Ohio River Bridges Project Is Still a Boondoggle, by Aaron Renn, The Urbanophile.
Indiana and Kentucky have supposedly agreed on a plan to chop $500 million off the cost of the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville. Now the project will cost “only” $3.6 billion, or almost $3000 for every single man, woman, and child in the entire metro area – and a heckuva lot more than that once financing costs and user delay cost during two decades of construction are taken into account.
This project seems to be a quest for an answer to the question: How big a boondoggle does a highway project have to be before even the most fiscally conservative of politicians will go for a rethink? It’s amazing that leaders on both sides of the rivers continue to push for this plan that will be little more than a cash drain on the region. And a destructive one, obliterating a number of historic buildings in downtown Louisville and erecting an even more gigantic barrier across the riverfront.
There is a better way: 8664. This project will save a couple billion – and reconnect downtown Louisville with the river to boot. Much better, much much cheaper. What’s not to love? Go forward with the adjustment to move the pedestrian path the Big Four, then take the rest of the steps to make 8664 a reality.
By the way, the Star said this was a “Kentucky delegation” and didn’t mention any Southern Indiana representation. I noted one of the cost saving measures was downscoping the east end bridge. Did Kentucky pull a fast one on Mitch? The east end bridge goes through Louisville’s equivalent of Zionsville and the big money types there – who are hugely influential – have never and will never give up on cancelling that bridge outright or, failing that, reducing it as much as possible. This looks to me like Kentucky maneuvering for position moreso than cost savings. Watch out, Indiana.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Urbanophile: "How big a boondoggle does a highway project have to be...?"
This bit of commentary comes from Southern Indiana native and well-recognized urban development consultant Aaron Renn, aka the Urbanophile, written soon after the latest bridges "deal" was announced. Offered as part of one of his Urbanoscope updates in January, it's worth a look for a quick, objective opinion from an experienced professional. Thanks to Save Louisville for pointing it out. Also worthy of review is Renn's previous, more in-depth support for 8664.