Final toll rates set for new Ohio River bridges - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Final toll rates set for new Ohio River bridges

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Chart displayed at the September 11, 2013 meeting showing the toll rates for the new Ohio River bridges. Chart displayed at the September 11, 2013 meeting showing the toll rates for the new Ohio River bridges.
Bart O'Leary Bart O'Leary
Chris Jones Chris Jones
Mike Hancock Mike Hancock
Artist drawing of the downtown Ohio River bridge crossing (Source: kyinbridges.com) Artist drawing of the downtown Ohio River bridge crossing (Source: kyinbridges.com)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - You can start your budgeting now because the amount of money you will have to pay to cross the new Ohio River bridges is now set. 

The Kentucky-Indiana Tolling Body approved the proposed rates: $1 for frequent commuters, $2 for other cars, $5 for box trucks and $10 for tractor trailers. 

The idea of paying to drive on roads around Kentuckiana is new to the area and it's not one  anyone is necessarily looking forward to, but those in charge of building the bridges say it's the only way. 

As the bones of what will be the new bridges take shape along the Ohio River, everyone realizes it's not going to happen for free. People like Bart O'Leary from Gotta Go Trucking just don't want their business to finance it.

"Right now we're looking at roughly 850 and something dollars a day, which in the grand scheme of things comes to about $220,000 a year," said O'Leary.

Gotta Go Trucking runs around 30 trucks a day carrying loads of sandstone and crossing the Ohio River.

"We're just one company of many in Southern Indiana that does business over on the other side in Louisville," O'Leary said.

Chris Jones runs one of the others, J&J Pallet, and really hates the idea that trucks pay $3, or even $8 more to cross than cars. 

"It takes a truck running 60 miles an hour the same amount of time it takes a car running 60 miles an hour to get over the bridge and why the truck pays 500 percent more is really hard for me to comprehend," Jones said. 

"We've settled on the rates that we have because those are the rates that are necessary," Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said. 

Hancock the bridges groups has studied the rates and this is the only way for the project to work financially. 

"There are still two free options in downtown Louisville: the Second Street (Clark Memorial) bridge and the I-64 Sherman Minton," said Hancock. 

O'Leary said that's not really a solution for his business.

"Our office is located on 65 in Clarksville," said O'Leary, "So it's the most feasible bridge for us to use."  

Now they're going to have to find some way to pay for the increased cost of doing business.

The Bridges Project said Wednesday that people who don't have a transponder in their cars or trucks, who have to be tracked via license plate, will pay more. If you register your license plate and establish a pre-paid account, you will pay $1 more. If you don't do that, your rate will be $2 higher.

After the first year, the rates will go up 2.5 percent or the inflation rate, whichever is greater.

With the added expense, we wanted to know if you can write them off on your taxes. Louisville CPA Rick Fields said businesses will be able to write off the expense, but for the rest of us, expenses from our regular commute are not something you can write off.

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