QUESTIONS ABOUT FUNDING
How much is project construction expected to cost?
With a total cost estimated at $1.497 billion (year-of-expenditure dollars), Central Alternative 1B is the lowest-cost option. This total cost includes roadway and bridge operations and maintenance for 35 years following completion of construction.
Is tolling an option?
A new 1-69 bridge will be tolled. The decision on whether to recommend Central Alternative 1A or Central Alternative 1B (whether or not to toll the US 41 bridge) will be based on continuing financial analysis, federal grant availability and comments received on the DEIS. Once a decision is reached, the public and agencies will be notified prior to publication of the FEIS and ROD.
Why is tolling necessary to help fund the project?
Toll revenue is needed to cover debt service for the project, capital costs, and operations and maintenance of the project. Currently, the only funding source to fill the gap is from the states’ traditional programs through direct funding and/or financing.
How much money can be generated by tolls?
Financial estimates indicate net revenue from tolling both the I-69 and US 41 bridges (Central Alternative 1A) would provide financing capacity of $500 million or 40% of upfront capital costs. Tolling only the I-69 bridge (Central Alternative 1B) would provide financing capacity of about $250 million or about 20% of upfront capital costs. At this time, the only source for funding the gap is from the states’ traditional programs through direct funding and/or financing.
When will a decision be made on tolling rates and who makes that decision?
A bi-state body will be created to develop toll policy (including toll rates) before construction begins. The FEIS and ROD inform the bi-state body of impacts and commitments associated with the implementation of tolls.
Will free or reduced tolls be considered for low-income residents?
The DEIS included possible strategies to mitigate impacts on Environmental Justice (EJ) populations if both the I-69 and US 41 bridges are tolled. These include the option of transponder purchase via cash, cash-loading of transponders, widespread availability of transponders, a frequent-user/commuter card and a reduced toll rate on the US 41 bridge for verified low-income users.
How will Indiana and Kentucky split the project costs?
Indiana and Kentucky are evenly splitting costs for preliminary design and the environmental review. Construction funding will be based on work in each state and will be detailed in the initial financial plan prior to construction.
What procurement process might be used? Will this project be built as a public-private partnership or design-build project?
The type of procurement and project financing has not been determined, nor has the tolling policy. As the states develop the project further through preliminary design and the environmental review, Indiana and Kentucky will consider the project’s suitability for different procurement methods and select a solution that works best for both states.
When will construction begin?
I-69 ORX is being divided into two sections for project delivery with ORX Section 1 focusing on improvements in Henderson County, KY. Construction is expected to begin in late 2022 and continue through 2025.
What is included in ORX Section 1?
ORX Section 1 will extend I-69 by more than six miles and provide critical approach work on the Kentucky side of the river. Section 1 extends from the Henderson Bypass (KY 425) north to US 60, including interchanges with KY 351, US 41 near Kimsey Lane and at US 60.
Has funding been identified for ORX Section 1?
Governor Beshear included funding in his six-year state highway plan in 2020 and Kentucky lawmakers demonstrated their support with $227 million for the project over a five-year period.
When will construction of I-69 ORX Section 2 begin?
ORX Section 2 (which includes the river crossing) is a bi-state project between Kentucky and Indiana. Based on the states’ current funding projects, pre-construction activities are expected to begin in 2025 with construction expected occur between 2027 and 2031. Completing this project is a high priority for both states and they continue to look for opportunities to accelerate its completion.