Kentucky could seek tolls for its portion of I-69

| 8/7/2006

Elected officials in Kentucky are weighing their options to fund an $800 million bridge over the Ohio River as part of a proposed extension of Interstate 69 to the south of Indianapolis.

One of those funding options includes tolls.

Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher and others do not have funding for the proposed bridge set aside for at least several years, unless they come up with a mechanism such as tolling.

The Associated Press reported that Fletcher's staff and an economic consultant are studying the possibilities.

A proposed $2 billion extension of I-69 from Indianapolis south to Evansville, IN, will be funded through $700 million from Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels' transportation plan, “Major Moves” – a plan based around proceeds from the lease of the Indiana Toll Road to a foreign private investor.

The rest of the money for the Indiana extension of I-69 would come from a similar private lease. The eventual investor would then keep the toll revenue.

If and when Kentucky is to extend I-69 further south – where it is eventually to become a key north-south trade route from Canada to Mexico – the new bridge over the Ohio River from Evansville, IN, to Henderson, KY, would have to come to fruition.