After airing a set of television advertisements and a mailer attacking his opponent, Democratic mayoral candidate and Metro Councilman Jim King, D-10, continues to slam businessman Greg Fischer, this time for supporting tolls to pay for the $4.1 billion Ohio River Bridges Project.
The second mailer:
Earlier this week, LEO reported that among Louisville’s mayoral candidates who responded to a questionnaire given out by the grassroots group 8664, only Fischer answered “Yes,” when asked if he supports the unpopular method of tolling existing bridges as a means to pay for the behemoth public works project.
The Democratic front-runner clarified his answer as follows:
In regard to tolling: 1) We need to let the bridges authority complete its work and present its recommendations on financing the project to the community; 2) The process must be transparent and inclusive; 3) I am hopeful it will not be necessary to use tolls, however; 4) The project may require funds from various sources, including tolls; and 5) If tolls are necessary, I will push for them to be as small as possible and to be lifted as soon as the project is paid for.
The controversy over how to finance the juggernaut project appears to be gaining traction in the final days of the mayoral primary.
In this week’s edition of LEO, we point out that with no financing plan in place and federal transporation money only able to cover a fraction of the project’s overall cost, the bi-state authority remains committed to “any and all options,” with which to finance the project, including tolls.
And Fischer’s opponents appear set to tie the plan’s price tag around his neck.
At a press conference held earlier this week, King told the media he does not support plans to impose tolls on existing bridges. However, the former council president says he does support the project and the idea of placing tolls on the new bridges.
The announcement also got the attention of Democrat Tyler Allen, who has anchored a large part of his mayoral candidacy to the rising anti-tolling sentiment. At his press conference, the 8664 co-founder said he’s glad to see growing opposition to tolling.
“I am pleased when other candidates are paying attention to the issue that I have been stepping up and speaking about for years now,” (Allen) says.
Allen went on to say the 4.1 billion dollar bridges project is too expensive to not be financed in part with tolls. He favors a project that includes only one bridge and the elimination of Interstate 64 downtown.