This sketch shows what the East End Bridge would look like. (Source: Ohio River Bridges Authority)
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A bill before the General Assembly would eliminate
bridge tolls for people who don't make much money.
On Friday, State Representatives Jim
Wayne and Reginald Meeks of Jefferson County introduced legislation that would
exempt Kentuckians who work in Indiana and make less than $25,000 a year.
"We're talking about the mother
who cleans the toilets at the Sheraton Hotel over in Indiana, who lives in this
city and has several children," Wayne said.
That mother would pay about $500 a
year in tolls because the bridges authority plans to set tolls at $1 each
Why should anyone get a free ride? "We
don't give them discounts at the airport," said Louisville resident Walt
"I think that person has a valid
point," said Wayne. "The larger issue he's addressing is why do we have tolls
in the first place?"
Wayne says Kentucky and Indiana have
the money to pay for the bridges without tolls. He says money in Frankfort is controlled
by rural lawmakers who unfairly distribute it even though taxpayers in Jefferson
County are paying most of the bills.
"For instance, in 2011, Senator Williams'
district of Cumberland County received $3,000 per person in Cumberland County
for new road projects," said Wayne. "In Jefferson County it was less than $150 per
What about the all the legwork and
paperwork needed for the toll-free ride?
"I think the intention is good, but I have
concerns about enforcing it and who gets that benefit," said Schwartz.
"The working poor would pay tolls up front
like everybody else," said Wayne, "then come tax time it's a simple check of a
box on the return, drop the receipt in, and that's it."
TARC buses also would be excluded from
Wayne said he wasn't sure what kind of
movement House Bill 129 will get in this session, but he added it already had a
lot of support with eight co-sponsors.
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:55 AM EDT2013-05-23 15:55:08 GMT
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