In the 2016 State of the State Address, Governor Mike Pence called on the Ports of Indiana to "vigorously explore" building the state's fourth port in southeastern Indiana.
In Tuesday's State of the State Address, Governor Pence said, "Indiana's ports have also been spectacular catalysts for job growth. That is why I have called upon the Ports of Indiana to vigorously explore the building of a fourth port in the far southeastern part of our state, which could unleash enormous economic investment throughout the southeast region of our state."
The Ports of Indiana is a statewide port authority created by state legislature in 1961 that operates three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan. The three ports include Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor (opened in 1970) on Lake Michigan and two ports on the Ohio River: Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon (opened in 1976) and Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville (opened in 1985).
"It's very gratifying that Governor Pence sees our ports and marine highways as vital parts of his transportation, infrastructure and economic development initiatives," said Rich Cooper, CEO for the Ports of Indiana. "He has asked us to explore the development of a new port in a southeast Indiana area that has long been very intriguing to us and is highly worthy of a closer look. We share the Governor's belief that there is tremendous opportunity for Indiana to build on its past port successes and further leverage its access to railroads, highways, and the Gulf of Mexico via the Ohio River to generate economic development opportunities in a new region of our state."
The mission of the Ports of Indiana is to develop and maintain a world-class port system that operates as an agile, strategically-driven, self-funded enterprise dedicated to growing Indiana's economy. Funding for the creation of Indiana's three ports was provided by state appropriations, but ongoing operations and capital investments are funded by the Ports of Indiana through operating revenues. Indiana's two existing river ports have a combined economic impact of over $2 billion per year and support 15,000 total jobs.
"We would like to build on this success and further leverage synergies between our existing ports," Cooper said. "We feel fortunate that our Governor and our state legislators have been very supportive of our port system and truly understand the benefits of having a robust multimodal transportation network that supports business growth and economic development. We look forward to working with community leaders in southeast Indiana as well as our public and private partners to pursue the next steps for the potential development of a new port."