LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Protesters took to the streets at Second and Main on June 20 to say "no" to the Bridges Authority recommendation of at least a $3.00 toll to help pay for the new Ohio River bridges.
The group, Say No To Bridge Tolls, does not want to pay a penny to cross the Ohio, something they've done for free for so long. When the authority submitted an initial plan for funding to meet a July 16 federal deadline, tolls were in the plan for the Kennedy Bridge and the two new bridges planned for construction.
Members of the authority say $3.00 is the worst case scenario and that they threw out a number in order to start talks with the feds about air quality.
The Ohio River Bridges project is going to cost roughly $4.1 billion, which includes reconstructing Spaghetti Junction. The Bridges Authority has said it doesn't think it can move forward with this project without some sort of user fee. But Say No To Bridge Tolls wants to remind the authority they don't want the people of Kentuckiana to pay the price.
"Tolls are a regressive tax," said Shawn Reilly, co-founder of Say No To Bridge Tolls. "It disproportionately affects the working poor of this community. It places a burden that this community will simply not accept."
"I just don't think it's fair," said Patrick Breen, who is not a member of the group, but showed up to protest against tolls. "It's an extra tax added onto people and I just don't think it's fair, especially a $3.00 toll any toll I think is unfair and unjust."
As of now, the Clark Memorial and Sherman Minton bridges would remain toll free. The authority has set its own deadline of December 31 for a financial plan.