Louisville take note, New Albanians reject ORBP

We were beginning to think no one else took notice that the New Albany City Council passed a resolution condemning tolling as a way to pay for the $4.1 billion Ohio River Bridges Project.

From News and Tribune:

Council President John Gonder said the latest plan offered would charge a Hoosier commuter $6 a day to drive back-and-forth to work in Kentucky if tolling is called upon to fund the $4.1 billion project.

“Is it conscionable to ask them to pay $1,500 a year to go to work,” Gonder said.

Last week, LEO Weekly reported that the southern Indiana city passed a non-binding measure by a 6 to 2 vote, with one abstention to reject the tolling option. The council members cited growing concern amongst constituents about the costs to motorists who cross the Ohio River regularly.

Recently, the bi-state bridges authority has submitted a financial estimate suggested charging drivers a $3 toll each way to cross the bridges and other plans that included tolling parts of Interstates 64 and 71 that don’t cross a bridge.

The resolution specifically calls for the project to be scaled down and for the construction of an East End bridge that would span the Ohio River between the I-265/US-42 junction and Utica, Indiana. The council joins the News and Tribune’s editorial board in questioning the behemoth public works project, which is much unlike their counterparts (Louisville Metro Council and The Courier-Journal) across the bridge.

7 Comments

  1. Curt Morrison
    Posted August 23, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    BLOG ENTRY TITLE #FAIL.
    As you clarify in the entry, the Council rejected a funding mechanism for the bridges project involving the imposition of tolls on new and existing Ohio River bridges, and they DID reassert that the East End bridge will provide a vital link in the economic development of Southern Indiana, and is needs to be the sole focus of the project.
    The Council DID NOT reject the Ohio River Bridges Project and any portrayal, albeit unintentional, of their courageous actions as obstructionist is not acceptable, Phillip. I expect it from the CJ, but we hold you guys to higher standards.

  2. Phillip M. Bailey
    Posted August 23, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    By definition the Ohio River Bridges Project is building an East End bridge, a downtown bridge and re-configuring Spaghetti Junction.

    Any plan that does not include all three is by definition NOT the $4.1 billion project on the table.

    The resolution states “the best course for the economic well-being of the region is a concentrated focus on the completion of the I-265 connection between Clark County, IN and Jefferson County, KY,” which makes it clear they’re favoring one option (the East End bridge) over others.

    Once again, that is NOT by definition the ORBP.

    I understand the passions surrounding this issue are high on both sides, but the knee-jerk attempts to intimidate the local press won’t work by the projects proponents or its critics. Step your “gadfly” game up.

  3. Curt Morrison
    Posted August 23, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    First, I want to make clear that the NA resolution didn’t even mention the downtown bridge or reconfiguring spaghetti junction, so your insightful opinions that they oppose those parts of the project are only that. Insightful opinions. Not definitions.

    Second, it’s a turn off when media carelessly classifies multiple divergent interests groups into only 2 camps, when it’s clearly more complicated than that. Why would anyone speak their mind on a public project if they’re due to be portrayed as being the gadfly in the ointment? It’s kind of when being critical of a journalist’s perspective is labeled intimidation.
    The message in both examples is the same. It encourages the dissenter to “shut up” and it’s the seed of citizen disengagement. #yeahisaidit

  4. pbailey
    Posted August 23, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    “Let’s focus on the eastern bridge. That’s the real solution to this entire issue.” — John Gonder, at-large New Albany councilman.

    Q: What is — by definition — the Ohio River Bridges Project? Answer that before you respond.

    “Second, it’s a turn off when media carelessly classifies multiple divergent interests groups into only 2 camps, when it’s clearly more complicated than that.” — Curt Morrison

    The news is not meant to turn you on and no one has depicted the community-wide debate about this project as simply two camps. The opponents of ORBP are diverse and including people who believe we shouldn’t build either bridge, to build the East End bridge only to build the East End bridge first.

    You should know, Curt. You’ve worked for all of them at one point, but once again your clumsy attempt fails to understand the details of my first response.

    The ORBP is building an East End bridge, a downtown bridge and re-configuring Spaghetti Junction. Anything other than that is a position against the current project. Plan and simple.

    No one is suggesting you shut up.

    The New Albany council rejected the current project and wants it scaled back. Call it ORBP 2.0 if you want, but that is not the current project.

    What about that don’t you get? It isn’t an opinion. It’s a fact based upon deductive reasoning.

  5. Curt Morrison
    Posted August 23, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never worked for an an opponent of the ORBP. I have only worked to revise and influence it and I reject your characterization of me, or any breathing Hoosier, as an opponent of the ORBP.
    Our community only has one true ORBP-opponent, the advocacy group that filed a federal lawsuit to delay the thing and that would be River Fields, Inc.
    (I have never worked for them, either.)

    Being critical of an element of a plan does not make one an opponent of the plan. Your reasoning would lead us to believe that 99% of Americans oppose health care reform. Because you’d scarcely find a soul out there that wouldn’t have a problem with at least one element of a 6,000 page bill. Same with President Obama. He’s done eleventy million things. Being critical of any elements of them makes one an Obama opponent? Dramatic? – Yes. Leaving people better than you found them?- No.

  6. Curt Morrison
    Posted August 23, 2010 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Even the CJ reported the story without a dramatically misleading headline:
    http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20100823/NEWS01/308230080/1025/rss02

    Of course, they didn’t do it until after your story was published & I had commented so maybe they were just succumbing to my referenced unknown-until-now powers of intimidation. Right.

  7. Steve Magruder
    Posted August 24, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    It’s interesting how River Fields was behind the ORBP “compromise” and now they are trying to stop its first phase because they thought that compromise would perpetually delay or kill the thing.

    The common thread of course is that RF has been gaming the system all along to simply stop the East End Bridge. This gaming of the system needs to be called out, and stamped out.