For the past several years my family and I have participated in a charity walk for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. Typically this two-mile stroll - to pick flowers for my daughter and race for my son - is held at a scenic park on the river.
But this year the run/walk was in a new location that was foreign to many of the participants. We were at the River Ridge Commerce Center in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
We were there because the national pharmaceutical company that hosts the walk has a distribution center in River Ridge. The company has a big distribution center - 315,000 sq. ft. that houses more than 200 employees. They use this distribution center to ship life-enabling medicines to hospitals and patients across the entire United States. They do not have a facility of this size and scale anywhere else in the US.
The company's neighbors at River Ridge include an Amazon fulfillment center (3000 employees), Autoneum (200 employees), Optum (300 employees), Tenneco (250 employees), and several others that, combined, employ more than 5,700 people.
Overall, River Ridge is pretty amazing - but the access is phenomenal. From the new Lincoln Bridge to enhanced local roads, the state of Indiana has made sure you can easily access the site.
And there is more than road access at River Ridge. The site has easy access to the recently improved Port of Jeffersonville. The site is adjacent to the Jeffersonville - Clark County Regional Airport, a facility that has secured funding to increase their runway from 5,500 feet to 7,000 feet. And there is substantial rail access provided by three rail lines that can move freight across the country.
While River Ridge has a positive impact on the entire region - which does include Louisville and all of our city's surrounding counties - it is in Indiana.
Indiana invested quite a bit in River Ridge - more than $40 million in road improvements alone, but those investments are paying off. In 2016, the site had an economic impact of $1.7 billion.
And now, Indiana can now do more to improve their infrastructure to better serve everyone from the major employers housed in developments like River Ridge to the people who live and work throughout the state.
During the state's 2017 session of the General Assembly, Indiana increased user fees that fund their road fund. These increases include raising registration fees for most vehicles by $15, enacting a registration fee on hybrids and electric vehicles, and increasing the gas tax by 10 cents per gallon.
All this increased revenue is being used to greatly improve Indiana's road and bridge infrastructure - making a nearly $5 billion investment over the next 5 years that will add 122 miles of lanes, fix nearly 1,300 bridges, and resurface nearly 10,000 miles of roadway.
So far, not many Hoosiers seem to have complained. But - why would they?
They're getting better roads and bridges today. And according to gasbuddy.com this morning, Indiana's average retail gas price is $2.33/gallon. That $2.33/gallon includes a 7% sales tax on gas and the increased motor fuels tax rate of 28 cpg.
And just so you'll know, according to gasbuddy.com, the average price of gas in Kentucky today is $2.44/gallon.
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