Chamber Leadership Initiatives for Northwestern Kentucky

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					NEWS RELEASE
April 14, 2010                                                   For more information, contact:
                                                                 Jody Wassmer @ 270-926-1860 or
                                                                 Steve Schaefer @ 812.421.5888



   Indiana and Kentucky I-69 project managers
      brief advocacy groups in joint meeting
With Indiana moving fast on building Interstate 69 northeast of Evansville and a Kentucky support
group awaiting the status of I-69 projects in the Commonwealth’s road plan, the boards of two
advocacy groups from both sides of the Ohio River met yesterday in Henderson.


The boards of Hoosier Voices for I-69 and Chamber Leadership Initiatives for Northwestern
Kentucky (C-LINK) met in joint session for the first time and heard update reports from Sam Sarvis
and Ted Merryman, project managers for I-69 in Kentucky and Indiana. I-69 is a seven-state, 2,600
mile corridor running from Michigan to Texas that will travel through southwestern Indiana and
western Kentucky. From Houston to Indianapolis, I-69 will create 27,000 jobs, add $11 billion in
wages and produce $19 billion in value added through 2025. Studies show I-69 will return $1.63 for
every dollar invested.


Indiana has made significant strides on the project in recent years with 13 miles in Gibson and Pike
counties currently under construction. Sarvis told the group that a total of 65 miles up to Crane IN is
expected to be underway by next spring. In Kentucky, I-69 will primarily follow existing parkways as
well as a small section of I-24. Merryman said a contract to replace guardrails on the Pennyrile and
Western Kentucky parkways has been awarded and a scoping study to determine the upgrades
needed on the Purchase Parkway will start next month. Merryman said Kentucky is also working
with the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) to determine what other projects will be required
to upgrade the Pennyrile and Western Kentucky parkways to Interstate standards.
“Interstate 69 means economic development for the tri-state, and we’re pleased to see our friends in
Kentucky working diligently to make it reality,” says Hoosier Voices for I-69 executive director Steve
Schaefer.


“Good things happen when the business community comes together to advocate for a project that
impacts all of us,” says Gary Carver of the Greater Muhlenberg Chamber of Commerce and 2010
board chair of C-LINK. “We’re a long way from completion, however, and both Hoosier Voices and
C-LINK will continue to work in tandem to make I-69 reality.”


Indiana 8th District Congressman Brad Ellsworth and Kentucky 1st District Congressman Ed Whitfield
requested a combined $1.65 billion in the next federal highway reauthorization bill for I-69. The bill,
however, has stalled in Congress as lawmakers wrestle with how to pay for the estimated $600
billion dollar bill during the economic downturn and a new generation of hybrids and cars with
increased fuel mileage—all of which has resulted in decreased fuel taxes.


According to Carver, the reauthorization bill delay has allowed C-LINK to promote I-69 in Kentucky’s
six-year road plan which remains unresolved in the closing days of the Kentucky General Assembly.
Road plan proposals by Governor Steve Beshear and the Kentucky House included nine projects
along the I-69 corridor.


“Our legislators from western Kentucky, particularly Senator Dorsey Ridley, have really stepped up
to become champions for the project in Frankfort,” says Carver.


Sarvis and Merryman also discussed the new I-69 Ohio River bridge that will connect Indiana and
Kentucky about two miles east of Henderson. The estimated $1 billion project would include the
bridge plus about ten miles of approaches on both sides of the river.


Senator Ridley was a sponsor of an infrastructure authority bill that was approved by Kentucky
lawmakers last year and makes alternative financing plans available for the so-called “mega-project”
bridges such as the I-69 bridge and the two new bridges planned between Louisville and
southeastern Indiana. Merryman and Sarvis told both groups that the ongoing work in both states for
I-69 should build momentum for the bridge near Henderson after both states work together to make
significant progress on the two new Louisville-area spans.


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