Another Hit for Lousiville's Boondoggle Bridges

For years I’ve been writing about how the project to build two new bridge across the Ohio River at Louisville, Kentucky was an enormous boondoggle.

Years after they opened, the bad financial news continues to roll in. WDRB-TV in Louisville recently reported on a new revenue study conducted by the state of Kentucky in advance of refinancing its bonds.

The study found that due to COVID disruptions, the projected rise of remote work, and other factors, toll revenue is estimated to be $373 million less that previously projected over the next 30 years. This is a 6% decline.

Spread over three decades, this is a manageable amount, but it’s money that’s going to have to come out of the transportation budgets of the states of Indiana and Kentucky. Kentucky used traditional bonding for the project whereas Indiana used a public-private partnership. But Indiana’s P3 structure is a so-called “availability payments” model, which means the private vendor gets their money no matter what. Unlike with the Indiana Toll Road deal, the state of Indiana has all the revenue risk on this project.

Read the rest of this piece at Heartland Intelligence.

Aaron M. Renn is an opinion-leading urban analyst, consultant, speaker and writer on a mission to help America’s cities and people thrive and find real success in the 21st century. He focuses on urban, economic development and infrastructure policy in the greater American Midwest. He also regularly contributes to and is cited by national and global media outlets, and his work has appeared in many publications, including the The Guardian, The New York Times and The Washington Post.