Highlights Project’s Economic Impact as part of Invest in America Bus Tour
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joined Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, Congressman John Yarmuth and state and local officials today at the $2.34 billion Ohio River Bridges project, calling it “an example for the nation” of the sort of large-scale job creation and transportation investment that Congress can make possible by reauthorizing a long-term transportation bill this year. The Secretary’s visit is part of his Invest in America, Commit to the Future bus tour, a multi-state tour highlighting the urgent need to invest in America’s transportation infrastructure at a time when the nation’s surface transportation programs are set to expire and the Highway Trust Fund is running out of money.
“Projects like the Ohio River Bridges not only create jobs, but also lay the foundation for long-term economic growth for entire regions and industries,” said Secretary Foxx. “I’m traveling across the country all week to highlight projects like this that show the difference we can make if we invest in America and commit to the future – because just fixing what we have today isn’t going to help us meet the transportation needs of the future.”
The Ohio River Bridges project, one of the largest public works projects in the country, is a project led jointly by Kentucky and Indiana to build a new I-65 bridge over the Ohio River, repair the Kennedy Bridge, reconstruct the I-64/I-65/I-71 Kennedy Interchange and build a new SR-265 East End facility that includes a new bridge over the Ohio River and a tunnel connecting to the I-265 Gene Snyder Freeway. When completed, these improvements will significantly improve traffic safety and double capacity between southern Indiana and Louisville.
State officials estimate the project will support more than 4,000 construction, engineering and supply-related jobs. A recent economic-impact study by the Indiana Department of Transportation (DOT) shows the project will generate nearly $87 billion in economic impact and create more than 15,000 jobs over the next 30 years. An investment of $1.03 billion in federal highway funds, $337 million in GARVEE bonds, and $452 million in a TIFIA loan helped make this project a reality.
In 2003, the Federal Highway Administration approved a plan calling for two new bridges and a reconfiguration of the Kennedy Interchange in Louisville. Later, design changes led by Kentucky
Gov. Steve Beshear, former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and others reduced the project's estimated cost from $4.1 to $2.3 billion – a 44 percent savings – by eliminating some elements of the project’s original design. The project was to be completed in 2018 but contractors cut construction time by 18 months. It is now expected to be completed by the end of 2016. Not only will this project improve driver safety and significantly reduce congestion along the key economic corridor over the Ohio River between southern Indiana and Louisville, it will bring Louisville-area residents their first new bridges in a half-century.
After visiting the project, Secretary Foxx spoke about the Administration’s plan to address the infrastructure deficit with a $302 billion, four-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal. The plan will invest in our national infrastructure network, increase safety and efficiency and provide greater access to ladders of opportunity, all without adding to the deficit. Later this month, Secretary Foxx and President Obama will send a bill to Congress that will make this vision a reality and put more Americans back to work repairing and modernizing our roads, bridges, railways, and transit systems.
“Throughout our history, Americans have always been able to leave their children a brighter future, thanks in part to the opportunities transportation has provided,” said Secretary Foxx. “We are at risk of failing our children. We need to not only invest in America, but commit to the future – not only rebuild and repair our roads and bridges, but reimagine how we do it.”
Secretary Foxx’s Invest in America, Commit to the Future bus tour is taking him through eight states in five days. The tour includes visits to manufacturers, bridges, freight facilities and highway projects in an effort to raise awareness of America’s infrastructure needs. Secretary Foxx is visiting with business leaders, stakeholders and community members to discuss how transportation projects are making a difference, and to highlight infrastructure gaps that we need to fill in order to promote economic growth and American competitiveness.
To follow the trip’s progress, please click here.
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FHWA 36-14 Louisville