JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) -- Some people across Kentuckiana have been urging their city councils to take a stance against tolls for the Ohio River bridges project. Monday night it was Jeffersonville's turn.
Similar resolutions have passed in New Albany and are expected to pass in Louisville later this week. It’s a largely symbolic vote and doesn't, in the end, mean there will be a toll or not, but still is a hot button issue that many elected officials don't want to touch.
In the Jeffersonville City Hall chambers, more than 70 people turned up heat on city council members and even more on paper. Everyone came to urge them to vote no to a bridge toll. "Money has got to come from somewhere. I ain't got 2 thousand dollars extra a year to give out," says one resident.
However, in the end, the resolution failed by a six to one vote. Jeffesonville isn't alone in addressing no toll resolutions. New Albany passed a similar measure and the Louisville Metro Council Committee approved an anti-toll resolution last week.
The resolution essentially is symbolic. It doesn't mean that the toll will or will not be passed on either side of the river. Still it has elected officials cautious and even divided.
"I think the hot button issue is that there are a lot of high powered interests supporting the Ohio River Bridges Project and tolls. A lot of money stands to be made," says Sean Reilly, Co-founder of Say No To Tolls.
While Reilly questions council members’ interests, council members say they don't want to vote on something before all the details are revealed. "I am not going to vote to eliminate anything that would take any tool, any option off the table," says Councilmember Nathan Samuel.
Tolls have been discussed as a way to pay for the Ohio River Bridges Project, which includes the construction of a downtown bridge, an east end bridge and the redesign of Spaghetti Junction. The authority has not yet recommended a finance plan yet, but should have one by the end of the year – a plan that will move forward despite what any resolution has to say about it.
Once the Bridges Authority settles on a plan they will present it to the State Transportation Authority.