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Financing approved for Ohio River Bridges Project

KPTIA poised to sell more than $750 million in bonds in coming weeks

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 14, 2013) – The Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority (KPTIA) today paved the way for the sale of bonds to finance the Downtown Crossing of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project with the approval of a series of resolutions.

A barge full of equipment being used to construct Tower 5 is shown next to Kennedy Bridge in Louisville.
A barge full of equipment being used to construct Tower 5 is shown next to Kennedy Bridge in Louisville.

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The action will allow KPTIA, the state’s financing and oversight agency for major transportation investments, to sell more than $750 million in bonds in the coming weeks.

“We are prepared to go to market and complete financing as expeditiously as possible,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock, chairman of KPTIA.

Kentucky is financing the Downtown Crossing with a combination of federal highway funds and bond proceeds. The bond payments will be covered with revenues, shared evenly by Kentucky and Indiana, from toll collections on the Downtown and East End Crossings.

The $1.3 billion Downtown Crossing is half of the $2.6 billion Ohio River Bridges Project, which Kentucky and Indiana are jointly building to dramatically improve cross-river mobility. The Downtown Crossing includes a new I-65 bridge for northbound traffic, a revamped John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge for southbound traffic and the rebuilding of the downtown interchanges on both sides of the river.

The East End Crossing – a new bridge and highway connections that will complete an outer loop around the greater Louisville area – is being built and financed as a Public-Private Partnership involving Indiana Department of Transportation, Indiana Finance Authority and the contracting team, WVB East End Partners.

To keep financing costs as low as possible, Kentucky applied for a $452 millionlow-interest, long-term loan through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Program. It would be used to refinance a portion of the bond issue after construction.

Construction is well underway

Construction of both crossings is proceeding on schedule, said Andy Barber, KYTC’s project manager for the Bridges Project. On the Downtown Crossing, bridge piers are beginning to rise above the river’s surface, interstate widening is progressing in downtown Louisville and a new exit ramp is taking shape in downtown Jeffersonville, Ind.

“We’ve seen amazing progress in the 364 days since we opened the bids for the Downtown Crossing,” Barber said.

In other action, KPTIA ratified recent actions by the bi-state agencies overseeing the Bridges Project, the Tolling Body and the Joint Board.

Those actions include the setting of initial toll rates, which will range from $1 for frequent commuters to $10 for tractor-trailers using electronic transponders. Higher tolls will be charged for drivers who don’t use the transponder technology which keeps administrative costs low.

The bond resolutions approved today can be accessed here: