It's no secret that the Kentucky legislature was none too keen on granting tolling authority as a means of financing the Ohio River Bridges Project. In fact, the legislature's adjournment without action on the toll bill (H.R. 102) certainly delayed the tolling authority, if not killing it.
This delay could allow time for General Tyler Allen's guerilla forces to build more support for the 8664 plan and, with luck, kill the two-bridge plan.
It is now possible to reveal the nexus of the killing of H.R. 102 and the New Albany City Council.
While I have not been a very active or vocal opponent of the Ohio River Bridges Project I do, in fact, oppose the plan and support in its stead the 8664 concept. I was especially pleased to contribute to the delay and possible death of the tolling authority through the Council's action at the last meeting.
For those not familiar, the Council, through a tie vote, killed the most recent incarnation of the so-called Freddy Krueger development, across Chalestown Road from Kroger's, named after the psycho-who-will-not-die from the seemingly endless "Friday the 13th" movie series. This development shares some of Krueger's DNA and shows the family resemblance through endless looping of appearances before one body or another in city government. This time it appeared as a means of delivering unto the populace of New Albany's neglected east side neighborhoods, a new Wendy's to replace the old Wendy's in the tony mid-range of Charlestown Road, across from the vibrant Colonial Manor Shopping Center. Tour buses have been causing traffic problems as out-of-town shoppers crowd the Colonial Manor's many upscale shops and restaurants. This was but one reason the plan was seen as a cinch for passage.
Timing was critical in the passage of this plan and its coincidence with the Kentucky legislature's passage of H.R.102. Both things had to happen for the deal to go down. And both were ultimately undercut by another fast food giant trumping highly creative capitalism with simply creative capitalism.
Yet again my effectiveness as a blogger is diminished by my mid-century technical limitations. I tried to post a link to the story which would have shown the simply creative capitalism in action, but the telltale blue letters of an active link eluded me. So, I'll just have to recount the fact that Kentucky Fried Chicken, now in sanitized form known as KFC, is fixing potholes in Louisville. Its consideration for this altruism is the opportunity to paint a stencil on city streets,with the words "Re-freshed by KFC". Google "KFC potholes", see what you get.
This master stroke was sniffed out during the debate on the tolling authority to fund the two-bridge project. Its imminent rollout left the highly creative toll plan looking like tired me-tooism.
It is a given that no one likes to pay tolls. It is a further given that times are tight and tolling will be required to make the Bridges project a reality. That distaste, and the $4.2 billion dollar price tag for the Ohio River Bridges Project led Wendy's International to come forward with a most creative solution to the bridge dilemma. Wendy's International offered to pay the entire $4.2 billion for the Two-Bridge plan under the condition that they could set up reverse toll booths in the Northbound and Southbound lanes of I-65.
These reverse toll booths would have the requisite signage directing motorists to "STOP and PAY TOLL". The marketing gurus felt that motorists would be ecstatic when, instead of collecting tolls, the tollbooth attendant would hand out coupons for local Wendy's restaurants. Relieved of the obligation to pay tolls, motorists it was believed, would be motivated to drive directly to the nearest Wendy's out of gratitude if not hunger.
This plan was dealt a serious blow as the new Wendy's on Charlestown Road was iced. It is common knowledge that no one will drive the extra mile and a half to go to the existing Wendy's. Robbed of this most integral post on the Metro area's northern boundary (some saw it as the jewel in the crown) Wendy's International's plans collapsed and it ceded the innovative marketing turf to the Colonel.
So until Freddy brings forth another plan... The people of Lafayette Drive can breathe easier, but they'll have to travel farther for that great Wendy's taste.