Indiana's Public Comments End for Bridges Project Financing Proposal
The public comment period for Indiana’s proposal to fund its portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project is over, and the 15 comments regarding the public-private partnership are split.Indiana is responsible for finding $1.3 billion to build a new East End Bridge. The state has proposed a partnership that would find a private operator to build and maintain the span. That operator would be paid through tolls on the bridge, which would be managed by the public sector, and with other state funds.Critics of the proposal are skeptical about giving up control of infrastructure."We believe if managed correctly, the state would benefit from such a contract," said Jim McGoff, general counsel for the Indiana Finance Authority.Critics further say tolls would hurt businesses in the area. Those concerns have been noted and will be reflected in an upcoming study, said McGoff.“For the impact, I think there were some comments received as far as business concerns in and around the area of the bridges and we’ve communicated that to the professionals to make sure that that’s included in their scopes," McGoff.The economic impact and feasibility studies should be complete in the next four to six weeks, he said. They will be available for public review and there will be a hearing for public comment on those two studies, said McGoff.