Financial woes worry drivers awaiting bridge tolls


by Maggie Ruper

Posted on July 22, 2013 at 11:15 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 22 at 11:21 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Residents are voicing concerns about proposed tolls for the long awaited Ohio River Bridges Project.

The tolls could cost between $1 to $10.

An open house meeting took place Monday night in Clarksville, Ind., to discuss the burden of expected tolls.

“These people that are on a fixed income, we're not going to be able to afford it,” said a driver.

Starting in 2016, tolls will be charged on the new Downtown Bridge, the revamped Kennedy Bridge, and the new East End Bridge connecting Prospect and Utica.

Some say it's a problem for people in low-income and minority communities.

"I think the decision about tolls or how to toll was an afterthought," Metro Councilwoman District Five, Cheri Bryant Hamilton, said.

It could cost $1 for "frequent commuters" in cars or motorcycles.
$2 for cars, trucks, SUVs and motorcycles crossing the bridges once in awhile.
$5 for panel or box trucks
$10 for semi-trucks or tractor trailers

Some ideas to lessen the burden of tolls include providing free transponders that deduct funds electronically. They’re also looking to enhance public transportation.

“Providing $20 million dollars to TARC to help them buy new buses and equipment and provide more park and ride lots,” said Will Wingfield, Indiana Department of Transportation.

Barry Barker, TARC Executive Director, said, “We've got buses going across the river going 946 times a week. If we've got to pay tolls that could be a substantial amount of money on an annual basis."

TARC executives say they could be forced to cut bus routes if they have to pay tens of thousands a year in toll fees.

It’s important to note that two bridges will not have toll fees, the Clark Memorial Bridge and Sherman Minton Bridge.

Meetings are set for:

Monday July 22, 2013
4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Holiday Inn Clarksville
505 Marriott Drive in Clarksville, IN

Tuesday July 23, 2013
4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Kentucky Center for African-American Heritage
1701 W. Muhammad Ali Boulevard in Louisville, KY