FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKRC) - Paying for a new Brent Spence Bridge has plagued lawmakers for decades now, but a new idea in the Kentucky General Assembly might lead to some progress.
It's not every day you hear a chamber of commerce supporting a new tax, but when it comes to Kentucky’s roads, it adds up.
“It makes business sense to invest in infrastructure,” said Brent Cooper, president and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
Cooper’s chamber is all for a new bill in the Kentucky Legislature that would raise Kentucky’s gas tax. The Kentucky statewide chamber of commerce also supports the bill.
“It will very much improve the quality of life for Kentuckians and improve our situation in terms of economic development and creating jobs,” said Kate Shanks, vice president of public affairs for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
If passed, Kentucky's gas tax would be raised from 26 cents per gallon to 34 cents per gallon. Some of that money could help repair or build a new Brent Spence Bridge.
“It benefits Northern Kentucky tremendously to get these projects built. The Fourth Street Bridge is a great example. We've got this new music Ovation site in Newport; we've got the IRS site in Covington,” said Cooper. “If we don't have quick transit between those and coming down [I-75], it limits the impact that those can have on our economy."
While the business community is all for the tax hike, now they have to convince legislators this is a good idea.
“This is our fourth year that we have worked on increasing revenue infrastructure. It is our top issue for the legislative session. It is a very important issue,” said Shanks.
Cooper also says if everybody else can do it, then why can't the commonwealth?
"Ohio raised theirs 10 cents. Indiana has raised theirs. Tennessee has raised theirs, so the states we're competing against that border us have already done this, so we need to do the same,” said Cooper.
The bill’s sponsors include two lawmakers from Northern Kentucky.