As a resident of west Louisville, the real question should be how could I not support 8664 and No Tolls? The ORBP (Ohio River Bridges Project), is one of the biggest decisions that this community faces and one that will have a tremendous impact on the residents of west Louisville.
Many of us who live in West Louisville have to shop in southern Indiana. I could drive all the way to St. Matthews to go to Target, but the one in Southern Indiana is closer. I could drive all the way down Dixie Highway to go to Walmart, but the one in Southern Indiana is closer. I don't want to nor should I have to pay a toll to get basic goods and services. I also shouldn't have to pay a toll on I-64 to get from one side of town to other. Most of the citizens of west Louisville are barely hanging on as it is. Another toll/tax for basic goods and services would be too much. Yes we could shop in Eastern Jefferson Co, but then we would spend more in gas to go back and forth. It doesn't make sense.
I could possibly support tolls if we needed the entire ORBP(even the new trimmed down plan), but we don't. According to the state's own studies the East End bridge by itself would handle over 99% of the traffic congestion, and Louisvillians are driving less. Why do we need two bridges when one bridge will handle the traffic just fine? Why do we need tolls for the two bridges and a rebuilt Spaghetti Junction when all we need is one bridge AND the ORBP ALREADY HAS ENOUGH MONEY TO BUILD THE EAST END BRIDGE? Let me repeat that last little known fact. They already have enough money to start and finish construction of the East End bridge. Why wait?
The reason we are waiting for all of the money and/or funding sources for the project is because a small group of wealthy, well connected East End residents don't want a bridge in their back yard. The ORBP was originally 2 projects. East End bridge first, then downtown and Spaghetti Junction re-design next. The monied elite knew that if we built one bridge at a time the downtown part would have likely never been built because it would be obvious we didn't need it. They also wanted to kill the east end bridge. The best way to do that would be to make the project to big to succeed. So through their friends in high places the projects were fused to together. Hence the ORBP as we know it today. It is the 2nd most expensive project in the country. There was no way they would get enough money to pay for a $4.1 Billion project. Even the scaled down version is to big.
This leads me to the reason why I support 8664 (If you're not familiar with what 8664 is read about it on their website). 8664 wants to build the East End bridge remove 1-64 as it crosses downtown. This would not only connect Louisville to it's river front, but more importantly open up Western Louisville for more development. We could expand Waterfront Park west, and without the the 9th street flyover Western Louisville can finally be physically and visually re-connected to the rest of Louisville. It would also be a lot cheaper than the ORBP and makes a 1000% more sense. Just look at the pictures and videos. This is the type of project that moves Louisville forward. Not just the East End, but all of Louisville.
Pics of 8664. This Waterfront Park West looking This the new Waterfront Parkway
I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. I just hope we can change their minds before Louisville makes another BIG mistake.