An agreement has been reached between the state and Indiana Michigan Power to acquire a site that could become Indiana’s fourth port. The Ports of Indiana says it will work with a St. Louis firm to determine if the recently-decommissioned Tanners Creek coal plant in Lawrenceburg would be a suitable location. Ports Chief Executive Officer Rich Cooper says southeast Indiana is an attractive option since it is "the last major metropolitan area that our waterways touch" not serviced by a port.
Cooper says the site is especially attractive because of the infrastructure already in place. He says Indiana Michigan Power is looking to transition the property to an owner that can spark economic development in the area.
Governor Mike Pence first broached the concept in his January State of the State Address, where he pushed a proposal to "vigorously explore" another port along the Ohio River.
Pence said such a project would "unleash" big investment opportunities in the southeast portion of the state. Two of the three existing state ports are located along the Ohio in Jeffersonville and Mt. Vernon. The third is in Burns Harbor in northwest Indiana.
"Infrastructure critical to our state’s economy includes more than just roads. Indiana’s ports and waterways have been tremendous catalysts for economic growth in this state for decades, and there is great potential here in southeast Indiana to develop a fourth port that will further energize our economy," Pence said today in a news release from the Ports of Indiana. He thanked state and local officials for "continued progress as we work to make this fourth port a reality."
The Ports of Indiana has dubbed Tanners Creek as a "favorable site" among others it has evaluated.
Cooper believes “there is a business case to be made” for a fourth port in southeast Indiana.