As southern Indiana continues to work toward enhancing its economy, one critical component is the Ohio River Bridges Project. The governors of Indiana and Kentucky announced Tuesday they are eager to continue the endeavor:
Governor Mitch Daniels, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson today convened the first meeting of the 14-member Indiana-Kentucky Bi-State Authority.
“It’s time to move, and in a way that creates a model on how two states can act together for the good of all,” said Daniels.
The Bi-State Authority was created to spearhead the project to construct two bridges over the Ohio River and to rebuild the Kennedy Interchange, where Interstates 64, 65 and 71 come together in downtown Louisville.
The authority’s mandate includes devising a financial plan for the project. The initial plan set the estimated cost at $4.1 billion. Indiana’s share is 30 percent.
“We’re taking a historic step today,” Gov. Beshear said. “The task before this authority is challenging but critically important. The work done here will benefit both of our states for generations to come.”
“It has taken many years, and lots of hard work, but we are now ready to move this important project forward,” Mayor Abramson said. “This authority will lay the groundwork for a vastly improved transportation system in Louisville and Southern Indiana.”
Beshear proposed the creation of special authorities to oversee development and financing of “mega” projects – those costing more than $500 million – between Kentucky and Indiana. The Kentucky General Assembly enacted the proposal in 2009. It created the statewide Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority, which voted in October 2009 to recommend that Beshear, in cooperation with Daniels, create a bi-state authority for the Ohio River bridges project.