Artist rendering of the drive on north I-65 on the new downtown Ohio River Bridge (Source: kyinbridges.com)
Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN)
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It could be as early as the end of 2013 year that the tolling advisory board decides on toll rates for three Ohio River bridges, but it won't cost you to travel until the end of 2016.
The board is in charge of deciding how much each vehicle pays and how. The target for now is $1 for frequent commuters, $2 for other cars and trucks, $5 for box trucks and $10 for semis. It's got Bruce Wolfschlag wondering if he'll reduce his occasional trips from his home in Jeffersonville to Louisville.
"Who wants to pay a couple bucks each way just to go to a restaurant or go to a play?" asked Wolfschlag.
It will cost more than that for those commuting daily. The states believe based on the average yearly salary of a little more than $23,000, people who cross the bridge daily would spend about 2% of that income. They estimate low-income groups will spend double that percentage in their annual income, but it's not final and could change.
"When the tolling is implemented, public input is fully taken into account and the tolls are established in such a way that particularly sensitive to disadvantaged citizens in our community," said Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
It's likely no one will pay cash. The states are considering giving everyone a transponder for free, an electronic device similar to an EZ pass in other states. If you don't have one they'll either take a picture of your license plate and send you a bill for a higher rate.
Parker Huncilman from New Albany says he rarely travels to Kentucky now so he isn't worried about paying extra, but thinks Indiana and Kentucky are doing the right thing putting up tolls.
"It's unfortunate for a lot of people that do travel back and forth," said Huncilman. "However, the money's got to come from somewhere."
It's the very reason the states say the tolls are needed. While they are covering a lot of the cost, they can't do it all.
There are no tolls planned for the Sherman Minton Bridge or the Clark Memorial (Second Street) Bridge and the states say in order to do that they would have to complete impact studies first.
For more information about upcoming public information meetings about the tolls, click here.