19 October 2012
Formal agreements to govern the construction, financing and long-term management of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges project have been approved by both Kentucky and Indiana.
The long-awaited US project will add two new river crossings in Louisville and rebuild downtown interchanges on both sides of the Ohio River.
In separate meetings, the two agencies tasked with financing the project – the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA) and the Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority (KPTIA) – approved a bi-state development agreement and an interlocal cooperation agreement. Together, the agreements protect the legal and financial interests of both states as they share responsibility for construction, financing, oversight and management of the project.
To speed construction and share responsibility, the two US states have agreed to divide oversight of the two major components of the project. The financing of the project will rely on traditional transportation funding from federal motor-fuels tax dollars and user fees from tolls on the new and improved crossings.
Kentucky is in charge of financing and constructing the Downtown Crossing, which includes a new Interstate 65 bridge for northbound traffic, a reconstructed Kennedy Bridge for southbound traffic and revamped interchanges.
Indiana is in charge of financing and constructing an upriver East End Crossing between Utica in Indiana and Prospect in Kentucky. It will close a loop by connecting the Lee Hamilton Highway and the Gene Snyder Freeway, opening a large area to potential development.
The development agreement spells out rights and responsibilities for each state. It details provisions for moving the project forward to construction and for long-term operation including: budget and financing; environmental and workforce commitments; operations and maintenance; and tolling collection and enforcement.
The agreements create a joint board that will have long-term oversight and management responsibility for the project.