In another example of how the best ideas don’t originate in the halls of government, Northern Kentucky homebuilder Henry Fischer has offered an alternative to transportation bureaucrats’ plans for I-75 in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. That alternative is the Cincy Eastern Bypass (see map here).
The plan being pushed by the OKI (Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana) Regional Council of Governments would cost nearly $5 billion – much of which would be funded in the form of tolls on Northern Kentuckians who cross the Ohio River on I-75/71.
OKI’s $5 billion plan:
- adds only one thru lane to I-75 in Greater Cincinnati;
- spends $2.6 billion of Kentucky money to add only 1 thru lane to the northern 19 miles of I-75/71 in Northern Kentucky (money Kentucky doesn’t have);
- charges substantial tolls on the Ohio River crossing, thus tolling interstate commerce and harming the Northern Kentucky economy;
- provides little or no opportunity for regional economic growth;
- keeps all of the 18-wheelers on I-75/71, clogging this important transportation artery;
- does nothing to improve traffic flow on I-71 and I-275, which are also heavily congested.
The Cincy Eastern Bypass proposal:
- will cost only one-fourth as much as the OKI plan;
- adds only six miles to the I-75 trip through Greater Cincinnati. It will actually save substantial travel time for these travelers;
- offers all those 18 wheelers going through Cincinnati on I-75, I-71 and I-275 a safer, faster route;
- opens one lane of I-75/71 thru Greater Cincinnati for local traveler use. It also opens up I-275 and many eastern Cincy highways.
- opens up tremendous economic growth opportunities in Northern Kentucky and in Clermont and Warren Counties in Ohio;
- will cost Kentucky only $500 million, compared to OKI’s $2.6 billion Kentucky cost. In addition, it adds the same one thru-lane capacity to I-75/71 in Northern Kentucky.
How will the Cincy Eastern Bypass add one lane of capacity to I-75/71? It will accomplish this one-lane addition by traffic diversion, especially by diversion of Cincinnati regional thru traffic.
OKI itself says that approximately one-fourth of the traffic crossing the Ohio River on I-75/71 is regional thru traffic. Regional thru traffic does not stop in the Cincinnati Region.
Half or more of this regional thru traffic is 18-wheeler trucks. Diverting one-fourth of the traffic around the region is about equivalent to opening up one lane of capacity along I-75—the same added capacity as OKI’s $5 billion plan.
The Cincy Eastern Bypass is obviously a superior solution to the $5 billion OKI plan. It is a simple concept — one that our transportation bureaucrats fail to grasp.
Read more in this four-page publication about how Fischer’s proposal would save tax dollars and build on the economic-development strengths of one of Kentucky’s primary economic engines: Northern Kentucky!