The Indiana Finance Authority is looking for transaction counsel to help secure funding to pay for Indiana’s portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project.

An agreement reached in principle between Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear on Dec. 29 essentially split the project in half. Indiana will be responsible for constructing the east-end portion of the project — which includes both the Kentucky and Indiana approaches and the east-end bridge — for $1.3 billion.

Kentucky will finance the construction of the downtown portion of the project, including approaches, a new Interstate 65 bridge and the reconstruction of Spaghetti Junction for $1.3 billion.

The Indiana Finance Authority released a request-for-qualifications for transaction counsel to aid in the procurement process to construct the east-end portion of the project Friday. The responses to the RFQ must be submitted by noon Jan. 17.

Officials with the bridges project and the Indiana Department of Transportation are expected to pursue a financing plan under a public-private-partnership through availability payments.

While the financing model has not been finalized — INDOT is still examining other potential financial models — Kendra York, public finance director for the state of Indiana, said the public-private partnership model is the financing structure the state is “leaning toward.”

She added that during the Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority meeting Thursday that INDOT has committed $54 million each year, for eight years, toward the project. The total money that would be dedicated to the project equals $432 million, leaving an $868 million funding gap to be covered by tolls or by securing additional sources of funding.

Bridges project planners have said the plan is still on track to break ground in 2012 with an expected completion date in 2018.

For more information about the request-for-qualification, visit the Indiana Finance Authority website at www.in.gov/ifa/2331.htm.
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