The Brent Spence Bridge between Ohio and Kentucky carries twice as much traffic as it was built to handle — it’s 54 years old and functionally obsolete. But an effort to replace the span on one of America’s busiest trucking routes has languished for years — even after governors from both states agreed on a $2.5 billion plan about five years ago. The reason: Kentucky won’t approve new tolls needed to attract private money to the project. “Everybody wants to use the nebulous phrase, ‘Let’s look at other sources,”’ said former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, who left office in 2015. “But there are no other sources. They just want to keep from saying the word ‘tolls.”’ The case illustrates a challenge for President Donald Trump’s promise to put $550 billion or more into a 10-year program of upgrading interstate highways, bridges, railways, ports and other public facilities: How can he tap the private capital that his aides have said could help finance the spending?
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