Even as a two-day forum on the Ohio River Bridges Project was wrapping up, with all right people saying all the right things while failing to come up with anything new, one of the staunchest groups of opponents of the project is planning a new public relations push.
Organizers of the Bridges Forum seem to believe that hammering home to the public, over and over, about how important the projects are will somehow make it true. So they trotted out Rick Pitino and John Calipari, and got 800 people in a room to listen. But the crowd was mostly made up of people who stand to gain financially — they work for companies hoping to get a piece of the $4 billion (of whatever the current estimate is) pie.
And Sunday the No2BridgeTolls group, made up largely of Indiana business owners, will launch a new ad campaign likely to be more effective in cementing attitudes about the project than anything that Beshear, Daniels, Fischer, Pitino, Califpari, Crean could have said at the Bridges Forum.
Here’s the release from the group:
No2BridgeTolls founders have announced a strategic shift in focus and communications that will more clearly communicate the organization’s position in light of recent financing announcements.
This strategic shift to a more targeted approach has been driven by recent announcements by the governors of both Kentucky and Indiana to downsize the Bridges project. No2BridgeTolls founders and supporters believe this new plan has the effect of shifting the burden of financing the downtown portion of the project to the I-65 Corridor/Kennedy Bridges System.
“We are not opposed to a reasonable and financially responsible means to improve our downtown Interstate infrastructure or build a new East End Bridge,” said co-founder Paul Fetter. “We are opposed to building to a plan that will have adverse socio and economic impact to the community, specifically Southern Indiana and Downtown Louisville, which we firmly believe tolls or user fees on I-65 Corridor will have,” said Fetter.
“While the governors’ announcement was a welcome one in that it took the Sherman Minton and Clark Memorial bridges out of the tolling plan, we do not believe tolls on the I-65 Corridor is in keeping with our vision for what makes sense for the community.
“Our group and supporters believes alternatives to tolling the I-65 Corridor/Kennedy Bridges System can and should be found and are imploring all the decision makers of this vital and necessary project to find the solution without compromising the project. We will continue our efforts to educate the community and engage our elected representatives to act in the best interest of families and businesses in our community,” said Fetter.
The organization will launch a new advertising campaign that will begin on Sunday and future communications will include this redefined, targeted message.