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Beshear, Abramson Appoint Bridges Panel Members

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson have announced their seven selections for a bi-state panel to oversee the Ohio River Bridges Project.Here's today's press release from the governor's office:FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 30, 2009)—Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson today appointed the seven Kentucky members of a bi-state authority that will help develop a financing plan to ensure construction of two bridges between Louisville and Indiana and the reconstruction of the Kennedy Interchange in downtown Louisville.“It is essential to the economic future of this region that we provide safe, modern interstate connections across the Ohio River between Kentucky and Indiana,” said Gov. Beshear. “These are highly qualified people who have the experience and expertise to help us bring this important transportation project to fruition.”Mayor Abramson said, “This group of experienced, respected leaders will help Kentucky and Indiana meet the challenge of financing the most important bi-state transportation improvement in our lifetime.”The Kentucky General Assembly, in its 2009 special session, authorized creation of the bi-state authority and established guidelines for the group’s work. Under the new legislation, the governor has three statewide appointments and the Louisville mayor has four appointments from within Jefferson County.Gov. Beshear’s appointments include:

  • Joe Prather, former secretary, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC). Prather has a long record of public service, including 19 years in the General Assembly and an appointment as secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet under former Gov. Brereton Jones. Prather left KYTC on Sept. 30, 2009.
  • Charles Buddeke, president, Buddeke Industries Inc. Buddeke has previously served as executive director of the Louisville and Jefferson County Office of Economic Development, president and CEO of the Louisville Area Chamber of Commerce and publisher of Louisville magazine. He currently serves on the boards of the Louisville Metro Parks Foundation, the Greater Louisville Inc. Advanced Manufacturing Network, The Bridges Coalition and the University of Louisville’s Logistics Distribution Institute.
  • Jamie Fiepke, president and CEO, the Kentucky Motor Transport Association (KMTA). As president of KMTA, Fiepke has worked with a variety of industry groups and state and federal administrators on improving highway safety and continuing the trend of reducing highway fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles. He has more than 15 years experience in the retail and trucking industry.

Mayor Abramson’s appointments include:

  • Sandra Frazier, founding and managing member, Tandem Public Relations. Frazier, a director of the Brown-Forman Co. and Commonwealth Bank and Trust Co., is an active community leader and philanthropist.
  • Dr. Charles Moyer, dean, University of Louisville College of Business and Public Administration. Moyer, an expert on the cost of capital and related issues, has published more than 80 articles on issues including leasing, public utility regulation and finance, corporate governance, and cost of capital during nearly four decades in higher education.
  • Joe Reagan, CEO, Greater Louisville Inc., the metro chamber of commerce. Reagan has been a leading force in the business community’s support for the Ohio River Bridges Project to continue the safety and free flow of traffic essential to the economic vitality of both Kentucky and Indiana.
  • Benjamin Richmond, president and CEO, Louisville Urban League. Richmond has been an active participant in the research and planning of the Ohio River Bridges Project for the past decade, including serving on citizen panels during development of the Environmental Impact Statement for the project.

The governor’s appointments are subject to confirmation by the Kentucky State Senate. The mayor’s appointments are subject to approval by the Louisville Metro Council. The other members will represent Indiana.As mandated by the General Assembly, the bi-state authority’s proposed financial plan would contain a timeline for construction of the project and its financing parameters. The financial plan must be approved by the state authority.The bi-state group’s meetings will be open to the public under Kentucky law. Both Beshear and Abramson said they will ensure the panel conducts several public meetings on any proposed financing plan to share details and seek citizen comment.The bi-state group plans to hold its first meeting in December.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.