By BRADEN LAMMERS
Kentucky approved its plan to finance the remaining costs for the Ohio River Bridges Project by selling more than $750 million worth of bonds.
The state’s finance and oversight agency for the project, the Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority (KPTIA), approved a series of resolutions in Frankfort Thursday that will allow it to move forward with selling the bonds.
“We are prepared to go to market and complete financing as expeditiously as possible,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock, chairman of KPTIA, in a news release.
Combined with the anticipated bond sales, Kentucky is planning on using traditional transportation funding, both state and federal, to help finance the construction of its portion of the project to build a new northbound downtown Interstate 65 bridge and to reconstruct Spaghetti Junction.
Indiana is financing the east end portion of the project that will connect Interstate 265 in Utica to the Gene Snyder in Prospect. Indiana is financing its portion of the project through a public-private partnership that relies on private companies to pay for some of the upfront costs, that will be repaid through concession payments over a 30-year term.
Kentucky’s toll revenues — which are being split evenly by the two states — will go toward covering its bond payments.
Kentucky has also applied for a $452 million low-interest, long-term loan through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Program, according to the release. It would be used to refinance a portion of the bond issue after construction and would help reduce financing costs.
The Indiana Department of Transportation and the Indiana Finance Authority took the initial steps to find out who will be the tolling operator for the project once it’s completed.
The state advertised two separate procurements for a toll-collection system, which will ultimately be determined by a joint tolling board comprised of the finance and transportation leaders from each state.
Requests for bids have been submitted by the state for an Electronic Toll Collection system that would include the purchase of the lane electronic toll collection technology such as multi-protocol readers, E-Z pass and “6C” transponders; and a separate procurement has been submitted for a toll system provider, according to a bridges project news release.
The request for toll system providers includes provisions for the roadside and back office systems, systems integration and operational services, according to the release. Once the toll system provider has been prequalified, they will be sent a request for proposal. The request for qualifications for the toll system provider is due Dec. 10.
The bids for the electronic toll technology are due Dec. 13.