NEWS AND TRIBUNE
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels named Kerry Stemler, president and CEO of KM Stemler Co. Inc., to the Indiana Finance Authority --the entity responsible for determining the financing for Indiana’s $1.3 billion portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Stemler, of New Albany, formerly served as the co-chair for the Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority. The authority was a 14-member bistate group chosen in February 2010 and tasked with determining a financing plan to construct an east-end bridge, downtown bridge and repair Spaghetti Junction.
The bridges authority members were appointed by Daniels, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and then Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson. Stemler also chaired the Construction and Finance Committee for the Bridges Authority.
Once the record-of-decision was approved by the Federal Highway Administration, and the financing plan essentially approved and handed over to the respective states, the bridges authority was effectively rendered moot.
Indiana Finance Authority is made up of five members: Director of the Office of Management and Budget Adam M. Horst, who is the chairman of the board; Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock; and three appointments made by the governor, Bud Melton, Harry F. McNaught and Stemler, of which no more than two can be of the same political party. Stemler resigned from Bridges Authority when he was appointed to the Indiana Finance Authority in September, according to the finance authority’s website.
Indiana has sought to finance the construction of the east-end bridge via a public-private-partnership procurement approach. The winning bidder for the east-end of the project will act as Indiana’s concessionaire and will maintain the east-end bridge and the Indiana approach. Control and maintenance of the Kentucky approach there and the tunnel under the Drumanard Estate will be handed off to Kentucky.
However, details of a development agreement, which will help determine tolling scenarios and toll rates, between the two states has yet to be finalized.
Anticipated toll rates for the east-end and downtown bridge total $2 for cars, which include passenger vehicles and sport utility vehicles, $5 for smaller trucks with six wheels and $10 for semi-trucks. A $1 frequent toll rate is also expected to be offered to local commuters.