50 Years, 50 Stories

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Published Feb. 11, 1995 in The ledger Independent

State officials have asked federal authorities about the procedures and legalities of transferring $31 million set aside for a bridge in northern Kentucky to Maysville, the governor’s office said Friday.

Mark Guilfoyle, secretary of the Governor’s Cabinet, said the state wants to know whether a proposed funding swap with $28 million already earmarked for the Maysville bridge would require an act of Congress or could be accomplished by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“If (the secretary) can do it with a stroke of a pen, the whole option becomes a lot more attractive,” Guilfoyle said. “If however, it’s going to take an act of Congress, it’s going to take a whole lot more time and become a lot more problematic,”

Guilfoyle said the governor’s office and state transportation officials began considering the proposal after Republicans took control of Congress in the November Election.

Congress allocated $65 million for three Ohio River bridges in 1986 as part of a federal bill. The money was intended to pay for the Central Bridge, which is nearing completion and another bridge between Covington and Cincinnati. Any leftover funds from those two projects were then to be applied to the Maysville bridge.

Since construction on a second bridge in northern Kentucky is still up to three years away, state officials have proposed the funding switch in fear of losing the $31 million earmarked for Covington and Cincinnati.

Guilfoyle said the $31 million is federal ‘demonstration’ money and is subject to being recalled by Congress, whereas the $28 million in federal funds earmarked for Maysville is not.

The state has proposed transferring the $31 million to Maysville while setting aside the other $28 million for a bridge in northern Kentucky.

The swap would maintain funding for the Maysville bridge and give northern Kentucky time to conduct a light rail study. The study is expected to cost $3 million and take several years to complete.

“It is not a done deal. It is not anything we have made a final policy decision on,” Guilfoyle said of the proposed swap.

Maysville Mayor Rick Litton said he supports the proposal, but added he did not believe diverting the money from northern Kentucky would actually speed up completion of the local bridge.

Although Maysville was to receive leftover money from the Covington-Cincinnati bridge, Litton said he did not think any money would have been remaining after those bridges were built.

Litton maintains that work on he Maysville bridge would have continued to progress without the leftover funds and that the federal government would have allocated money to complete the bridge construction.

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