New Indiana road task force to discuss I-69 bridge funding

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Indiana officials say that the state's new road funding task force will discuss plans to move forward with an Interstate 69 bridge linking Indiana and Kentucky.

Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, told the Evansville Courier & Press that I-69 bridge project is high on the committee's list of tasks.

"Our plan is to try and develop a pretty comprehensive plan of the state's major infrastructure needs," Kenley said. "My feeling is that bridge fits into that category."

On July 1, Gov. Mike Pence entered an agreement with Kentucky, saying the project is a priority for both states. Rep. Holli Sullivan, R-Evansville, said the announcement was a message to lawmakers that the bridge is a stated priority for Indiana and, therefore, a part of the overall economic plan.

"The agreement was the initial step forward that was needed," Sullivan said. "It didn't kick it further down the road, it's now a piece of the puzzle."

A bridge advocacy group, BridgeLink, estimated the overall cost of the bridge at $850 million.

Kenley said figuring out a way to fund the project will be on the committee's agenda and that it's too early to rule out any funding resources, including tolling.

"We've got a lot of funding decisions that we're going to have to make," Kenley said.

The committee will begin discussion started July 21 and has August and September meetings scheduled. The committee will have to suggest a funding plan to the Indiana General Assembly in time for the two-year budget, which will be approved during the 2017 session.

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