A Bridge for Obama

In his speech before Congress last Thursday, Obama mentioned "a bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that's on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America."

The bridge Obama described is the "Brent Spence Bridge," with a needed overhaul expected to cost $2 billion and take years to complete.

Interestingly, as The Hill noted in its report on the bridge: "Ohio and Kentucky, respectively, are the home states of the top two GOP congressional leaders, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell."

Obama's choice of this particular infrastructure project to highlight in his speech, although touted as not being a "bridge to nowhere," seemed more of a "subtle jab" at his rivals, and far from an attempt to bridge the current political divide.

The punch, however well-aimed, lost some oomph when it was reported that the "enhanced version" of the speech carried on the White House website erroneously showed a picture of the "John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge" instead of the Brent Spence Bridge. The Roebling bridge "is about a century older than the Brent Spence and is not...'on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America.'"

Across the same Ohio River, instead connecting Kentucky with Indiana, another bridge project in the city of Louisville has been delayed for years, not just due to funding concerns, but because of complaints and lawsuits filed by environmentalists and conservationists.  

And while the Louisville traffic over the existing three bridges continues to increase to unmanageable proportions, this Friday the city was hit with an unexpected and devastating closure of one of them: the Sherman Minton Bridge, which carries over 50,000 vehicles a day.

As reported in The Courier-Journal, the bridge was closed, indefinitely, after officials discovered multiple structural cracks during an inspection on Thursday.

The same day as Obama's jobs speech.  Shovel-ready?

Now we can only wonder where, on the list of targeted job-producing projects, will a bridge in McConnell's home state of Kentucky fall.

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