LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Sen. Mitch McConnell stopped at a University of Louisville regional lab Monday to discuss his stance on the battle over infrastructure.
With talks about infrastructure in Washington right now, the Brent Spence Bridge could get funding, but how isn’t clear.
McConnell said it’s always been tough to get money for the bridge between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
“When Boehner was Speaker (of the House) and I was leader (of Senate Republicans) everybody said, OK, why can’t we get this done? You’ve got the Speaker on one side and the Republican leader on the other,” McConnell said. “It’s because you can’t earmark, at the federal level that amount of money. It does require some kind of state participation.”
But state funding has been tricky.
Tolling helped pay for bridges in Louisville, but state lawmakers banned tolling between Kentucky and Ohio in 2016.
“Up in Northern Kentucky, the issue of tolls has been so toxic politically that the legislature did not make it possible for the mechanism to exist for the Brent Spence Bridge,” McConnell said.
So where do we go from here?
President Biden prioritized the 10 “most economically significant bridges” in his $2.2 trillion infrastructure plan, although it’s not clear if the Brent Spence Bridge is part of that.
A spokesman for the White House said once the funding is approved, cities and states would then submit their priority projects for approval.
McConnell said Republicans won’t agree to the president’s proposal.
“There’s more money in there for electric cars than there are for roads and bridges,” McConnell said.
McConnell favors a slimmer $568 billion plan proposed by Senate Republicans, although some of that plan includes money that has been approved in previous spending plans.
It’s not clear if the Brent Spence Bridge will be included in the GOP plan either, but McConnell said he’s willing to find a solution so long as it doesn’t increase corporate taxes, a key part of Biden’s plan.
“The new administration wants to undo what was the most significant domestic accomplishment, other than judges, of the previous four years,” McConnell said. “And that was the 2017 tax bill, which made us competitive internationally with corporate tax rates.”