Brent Spence Bridge #billiondollarboondoggle and highway sprawl uber alles!

Parker Flats view Jan 16 2010

Been thinking about this because I blew twitter up two weeks ago calling plans to rebuild the Brent Spence Bridge a boondoggle. Its amazing to how upset everyone gets over this bridge, instead of asking more hard questions, everyone wants to fast track the project and ask less questions, or none if possible.
In a time when the DOT gets 330 billion a year from the government but the gas sales tax generates only 230 billion a year how long can fiscal conservatives justify spending money they don't have?
Did you hear any of John Boehner's remarks at Economic Club of Washington in response to President Obama’s American Jobs Act?
Interesting highlights,

  • The president's proposals are a poor substitute for the pro-growth policies...
  • They've[private sector] been hurt by a government that offers short-term gimmicks rather than fundamental reforms
  • the current tax code, ...discourages investment and rewards special interests
  • They've[private sector] been antagonized by a government that favors bureaucrats over market-based solutions

Between Boehner and Kasich going on about running government more like a business I had this thought.
Consider, there is no STRUCTURAL reason to replace the BSB. It is structurally stable. The main reason for replacement that I have heard is that it is "FUNCTIONALLY OBSOLETE".
I can't think of a business that gives anything away for free so it only makes sense that the issue of the bridge exceeding capacity is a excellent business opportunity and I have the perfect solution, a toll with congestion pricing.
This is how it will work, $1 a vehicle until the functional limit of 85,000 cars draws close, then the toll will start increasing to encourage people to take one of the other 5 bridges in the area. Once 85,000 vehicles have crossed the bridge the toll will go to $10 a vehicle, this will accomplish two things, local traffic, the traffic that makes up over 80% of the traffic on the bridge will find more convenient ways across the river and the traffic that everyone claims "crucial" to US transportation will sail across smoothly.
We’d actually be making the truckers money, think about it, instead of sitting in traffic for hours, they sail right through, that $10 will allow them to spend an hour driving 55 mph instead of sitting in traffic which instead of $17 in lost revenue, will generate a $7 gain.UPDATE(this isn't revenue, I was thinking the truckers hourly rate, if that's even how they get paid which it probably isn't. I think they get paid by mile so even more important they move as quickly as possible.)
In addition to freight haulers this would also save the government 3 billion dollars and provide an easy half million+ a day in revenue.
Isn't that business like?
-- doesn’t get more market based than that.

[where: 45202] president obama John Boehner Brent Spence Bridge American Jobs Act downtown cincinnati ohio the ethos of Cincinnati


  1. Makes too much sense to me. I remember reading an article in which a private highway executive said he would "charge whatever it takes to keep traffic moving." Sounds like a good plan to a point.

  2. Using this model, shoulder lanes could be implemented, improving the safety of the bridge.

    It's nothing but, duh, win-win-win-win-winning all around.

  3. Shoulder lanes are responsible for 12% of highway fatalities, adding places for people to get killed is hardly a win, that's considered a fail by most people.

  4. I have talked to people on this project who admit that it is being massively overbuilt. The only criticism we've heard from the local media is that the whole thing isn't being built fast enough to cure the imaginary traffic and safety problems. This bottleneck wouldn't even make the top 10 in New York or other big cities.

  5. According to a quick Google map directions lookup, it takes 43 minutes to go from the I-75 junction with 275 in the North to the South via 275 (ie, go around on 275). This route rarely backs up and if it does, only moderately.

    How about using some modern traffic control and when it is estimated to take more than 43 minutes to take this route on I-75 (which I am sure is common during rush hour) have a light up sign that tells drivers to use 275?

    I bet a lot of people passing through are caught off guard by just how bad the traffic situation is.

  6. Ban trucks on 71/75 thru the city -- force them out around the city on 2-75 unless they are making a stop in the city. And enforce it.