Kentucky lawmakers to visit Windsor to learn more about the New International Trade Crossing

McDaniel hopes Canada can provide answers to BSB

Sen. Chris McDaniel hopes a trip to Canada might provide answers to the $2.5 billion Brent Spence Bridge replacement project.

McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, will travel this Thursday with Louisville-area Sen. Ernie Harris, R-Crestwood, to Windsor, Ontario to learn more about a bridge project spanning the Detroit River between Windsor and Detroit. He will meet with Canadian officials Thursday and Friday as well as tour an automotive plant and learn about economic trade opportunities, McDaniel said.

The Canadian government will pay the entire $1 billion tab for their bridge project, but will impose tolls on the Canadian side, according to CBC News. The American side won’t have tolls.

McDaniel, like other members of the General Assembly from Northern Kentucky, doesn’t support tolls on the Brent Spence Bridge and believes there are other options.

“I’m interested to see how people are financing these things in this day and age, how they handled community constituencies,” McDaniel said. “The nature of the discussion here has become a binary discussion, tolls-yes or no, and there’s got to be more to the discussion than that.”

Canada has taken the initiative to fund the new bridge at no cost to Michigan or the U.S., McDaniel said. That initiative might provide lessons for Kentucky and Ohio, McDaniel said.

“People build mega-projects all over the world everyday, and they build them all over the nation every day,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel doesn’t expect the General Assembly will make much progress this year on financing the Brent Spence Bridge. A bill introduced last week in the House would allow private financing of the Brent Spence Bridge. The Chamber of Commerce and Build Our Bridge Now Coalition have pushed for the public-private partnership legislation, also known as P3. But many lawmakers, including McDaniel, oppose it fearing it will lead to tolls.

“I’m certain P3 has some merits to it,” McDaniel said. “In this case, I don’t think it’s something that would be helpful to this area. I don’t foresee it ending up over here(in the Senate).”