By BRADEN LAMMERS
Jeffersonville has agreed to pitch in its portion for a road that will connect the River Ridge Commerce Center to the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville.
The city’s redevelopment commission agreed to pledge $2.6 million out of its Tax Increment Finance funds to cover its portion of the costs for the road being split between the state and several local entities. The purpose of the road is to create a heavy-haul corridor that will connect the port, River Ridge and run through the former Indiana Army Ammunition Plant site back out to Ind. 62.
“We had this remarkable bridge project, but no real efficient connection to leverage that bridge to the two greatest economic assets in this part of the state, River Ridge and the port,” said Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville Director Scott Stewart. “It’s all about investment, economic development and jobs.”
With the road completed, it would provide improved access to the new east-end bridge, connecting the port and River Ridge. Stewart added that completing the road will help market a mega-site proposed at River Ridge designed to bring in a major manufacturer, as well as add to the development of the port.
“It’s not just a heavy-haul road,” Stewart said. “We’re also talking about a rail connection as well that’s vital to the development of River Ridge; it’s vital to the development of the ports.”
The estimated cost for the heavy-haul road is $22.5 million and is being funded 50-50 between the state and the local entities. Operations and maintenance of the heavy-haul road, once completed, will remain the responsibility of the port.
Redevelopment Commission Attorney Les Merkley said the TIF funds to pay for Jeffersonville’s portion of the project likely will come from the Inner City Road TIF, and other smaller TIFs.
“Whether or not we can use funds out of those TIFs for this project has yet to be determined,” he said.
Jeffersonville will join the Clark County Commissioners, which committed $2.4 million toward the road, as well as the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville and River Ridge Development Authority Board of Directors, which combined will cover the remainder of the costs.
The financial backing now goes before the city council for final approval.