After delaying action on toll rates for the Ohio River Bridges Project last week, the bi-state committee in charge of setting rates will meet Wednesday to finish the job.
It was a surprise to Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock last week, when Indiana officials said they weren’t ready to approve tolls.
Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Will Wingfield said the delay shouldn’t be considered opposition to the suggested tolls rates, ranging from one to twelve dollars. He said it was just a matter of getting paperwork together.
Hancock was concerned though, and said Kentucky needs to set toll rates to find investors for its portion of the project’s cost.
“As interest rates go up obviously over a 35 year term of a financing deal that amounts to serious money, whether that’s millions I’m quite sure probably is," said Hancock.
State Rep. Sannie Overly has filed a bill that will allow the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to explore public-private partnerships to help construction projects with big price tags.
The bill doesn't specifically name any projects, but Kentucky currently has multiple instances where the bill could help work start, namely the Brent Spence Bridge in Northern Kentucky and Interstate 69 in western Kentucky.
Overly, a Paris Democrat, said the goal is to help the state have one more avenue to help fund its infrastructure projects.
"This bill is not designed for any one particular project, it is really nothing more than an additional tool in the toolbox of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet," she said.
Kentucky transportation officials say a team headed by Chicago firm Walsh Construction Co. is the apparent winner of bidding to build a new bridge over the Ohio River between downtown Louisville and Jeffersonville, Ind. The Transportation Cabinet said the proposals were scored Thursday in Frankfort.
Gov. Steve Beshear has signed an executive order directing the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to expedite the transportation of emergency supplies to victims of Superstorm Sandy. The order directs the cabinet to waive special registration and permit requirements for vehicles carrying relief supplies such as food, water and medicine.
Kentucky's top transportation official has told the National Transportation Safety Board that navigation lights on bridges are working properly and that workers who inspect and maintain the lights are properly trained.
Kentucky transportation officials say there's more work needed on the Interstate 65 bridge over the Ohio River between Louisville and southern Indiana. The Courier-Journal reports that two more repairs are needed, including fixing a possible crack that may be expanding.
Kentucky driver's licenses are getting some security upgrades, and circuit court clerks' offices will be installing new equipment to implement the improvements. The Transportation Cabinet says the new license has multiple layers of security features to make it harder for counterfeiters to produce fake IDs.
Motorists traveling between Henderson and Evansville, Ind., on the U.S. 41 Twin Bridges will encounter some lane restrictions this week. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says northbound traffic will be reduced to one lane on Monday and Tuesday for deck cleaning and maintenance.