In the current issue of Louisville Magazine, Editor Bruce Allar questions the nonsensical, $4.1 billion Ohio River Bridges Project, which will destroy any chance this city has of becoming Nashville North and/or attracting the coveted MacBook-and-latte set.
Here’s a choice excerpt from Allar’s column, which links the massive project to our country’s lust for oil:
How much, I wonder, should we sacrifice in our quest for easier, faster and, one would assume, more automobile and truck traffic through our city? It’s not just the (gulp) $4.1 billion. Or the possibility that we may be forced to extract tolls from drivers on already existing bridges, as well as the new ones, to have a chance to pay for the work.
My question goes beyond the disruptions to commuters, residents and businesses in the path of construction — even beyond what all of this concrete and steel will do to the “livability” quotient of our small town, big city.
It’s even more basic: If we build it, will they come? The Ohio River Bridges Project currently projects a completion date for all work of 2024. Has anyone asked how people and products will be transported in 14 years? Will we still be sucking oil from hard-to-reach deposits and filling a tank for nearly everyone who qualifies for a driver’s license? Will there be a clean-energy solution that keeps as many cars on the road? And if we manage to preserve our one-person-per-car culture with battery- or otherwise-powered vehicles, what about all of the trucks that haul through our town on east-west and north-south interstates and contribute mightily to the congestion?
Allar is correct when it comes to anticipating new modes of transportation: Louisville is (albeit tentatively) named as part of a Midwestern high-speed rail corridor — as envisioned by President Obama’s Transportation Department — the likes of which would drastically reduce the number of cars on Louisville roads within a few decades. Assuming that happens.
I essentially asked this same question of Gov. Steve Beshear, Mayor Jerry Abramson and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels at the first meeting of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Bridges Authority. After placing their cupped-hands over the microphone and exchanging whispers, Beshear responded by saying that the plan calls for two bridges, and that they are committed to building what the plan says, so go fuck yourself if you think otherwise about a process that’s been rigged to shut out alternative ideas from the very get-go.
Regardless, now that Louisville Magazine has joined The New Albany News and Tribune, LEO Weekly and other local news organs in speaking out against/being critical of/not blindly following the ORBP, that leaves The Courier-Journal as the loudest (and sole) media drum-banger for this tone-deaf waste of Kentuckiana taxpayers’ money, which would be sadder were it not wholly unsurprising.