Indiana gets blue ribbon transport panel

Indiana Governor Mike Pence will lead an effort to plan the future of the state’s transportation sector.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence is forming a blue ribbon panel to plan the next generation of infrastructure in the state across all modes of transportation. A blue ribbon panel is comprised of experts who will issue findings or recommendations that may be used by those with decision-making powers.  

Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann and Cathy Langham, president of Langham Logistics, will co-chair the panel, Pence said during the Indiana Logistics Summit held last week.

“With the expertise and recommendations of the blue ribbon panel, Indiana will keep its finger on the pulse of infrastructure innovation and strive to provide businesses and Hoosiers [Indiana residents] with the most efficient transportation system available,” he said.

Establishing a blue ribbon panel to plan for the future of the state’s infrastructure was one of several priorities, the Republican governor had outlined in his 'Roadmap for Indiana', which presented his vision for the state when he ran for office in November 2012. He assumed office in January.

The panel will develop a set of metrics and identify a list of priority projects over the next 10 years. It will review projects related to water, air, road, and rail transport, according to a statement issued by the Governor’s office.

Additional panel members will be announced in the coming weeks.

Indiana has several large-scale transport infrastructure projects under way.

In August, the state retained four teams to compete for the ‘I-69 Section 5’ project – a design, build, finance, operate and maintain (DBFOM) concession of Interstate 69 (I-69).

I-69 will be the second toll road public-private partnership (PPP; P3) project in Indiana to use an availability payment structure. In 2006, the US Midwest state leased the Indiana East-West Toll Road, or Indiana Toll Road, for 75 years in a $3.8 billion P3.

Another mega-project is the Illiana Corridor, a 47-mile greenfield controlled access highway linking suburban Chicago with northern Indiana. Initially, the two states were to work jointly on the project but in September a decision was made to split the project, requiring each state to use separate P3s for their share of the project.

Illiana is the latest bi-state transportation infrastructure mega-project located in the US Midwest: the Ohio River Bridges Project between Indiana and Kentucky resulted in Indiana implementing the East End Crossing P3.