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Competition is Good for the Bridge Project (1/5/12)
Last week Kentucky and Indiana finally acknowledged they'd probably never come to any agreement on an acceptable construction plan for the multi-billion-dollar Ohio River Bridges project. So they addressed the problem by splitting the job in two, with Kentucky responsible for building the new downtown bridge while Indiana will handle construction of the East End span.
I find this encouraging, because it finally takes us past the point of talking about the idea of new bridges, and injects an element into the process that's been missing till now:
You think that won't get things moving? Given all the natural rivalries that exist between our two states, do you really think Kentucky would continue on its do-nothing path once it sees support pillars rising from the river near Utica?
And would Indiana want to look second best by lagging behind while downtown's new span keeps stretching toward Jeffersonville?
No, splitting the task in two doesn't reduce the overall cost of the project. But it does get us past a huge amount of the bickering that's stalled it for so long and focuses both states' energies on more specific – and therefore, more manageable – tasks.
And if state pride provides the impetus for both parties to do those tasks just a little bit better and a little bit faster than the other, that can't hurt, either.