RiverLink tolls: How much it is really going to cost to cross Ohio River

RiverLink tolls: How much it is really going to cost to cross Ohio River
Published: Feb. 3, 2016 at 9:36 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 19, 2016 at 9:17 PM EDT
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Mindy Peterson (Source: Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News)
Mindy Peterson (Source: Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News)
Transponder records at an open tolling plaza in North Carolina. (Source: WAVE 3 News Archives)
Transponder records at an open tolling plaza in North Carolina. (Source: WAVE 3 News Archives)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - In just a few short months, tolls across WAVE Country will be a reality. The price will range from $1 to $4 per way for everyday drivers, but getting that discounted rate may be harder than you think.

At minimum, if you have a transponder and a prepaid account, it's really going to cost $2 each way. If you reach frequent driver status, that's when you will then be credited.

"It's somewhat complicated for people to understand just because we haven't had tolling for such a long time," said Mindy Peterson, RiverLink spokesperson.

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Electronic tolling means no stopping, no slowing down, no toll booths, but in order to get the best rate possible, you're going to have to keep a few things in mind.

"A frequent user is expected to be somebody who makes 40 trips in a calendar month over a tolled bridge," Peterson said.

For most commuters, that means you're crossing five days a week per month. But understand, you will first be charged the $2 toll each way, so you will have to have at least $80 in your prepaid account initially for the month before the discount.

However, that $80 would not have to be deposited at one time.

The minimum balance to set up an account is $20. When you reach a low balance, RiverLink will replenish your account with an automatic charge to a credit card, debit card or checking account. For example, you could choose to put in $10 or $20 any time you reach $10. Or, you can get a low balance alert by text, email or traditional mail to let you know to replenish your account.

"When you hit that magic number of 40 for a frequent user, you actually get a credit that would take you down to a dollar for all of those 40 trips, that's credited to your account and every trip after that in the month would be a dollar," Peterson said.

What if you miss one day of work? Or only work a three to four day work week? You could be racking up $76 in tolls for that month. That's why RiverLink officials encourage you to keep an eye on your account and if you're under, get in your car.

"It's absolutely going to benefit you to go ahead and have dinner across the river, go and see a show, or do something because you are saving money at that point and you are saving quite a bit of money to hit that 40 mark," Peterson said.

You have two options when it comes to RiverLink transponders. One is free and for local access only. The other is an EZ pass and can be accepted in 16 states. It's a onetime fee of $15 and can be moved from car to car. If you don't have a transponder, passenger cars will be billed $4 each way, unless you start a prepaid account and register your license plate, then it will cost you $3 to cross.

The new Abraham Lincoln Bridge, the improved Kennedy Bridge and the new East End bridge will be tolled. Initial toll rates range from $1 to $12, depending on the size of the vehicle or truck, whether a transponder is used and how often a driver crosses a tolled bridge.

RiverLink will host 12 open house events to answer drivers questions about tolls. Each of the open house events is free and are open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Here is the schedule:

Thu., Feb. 4 
John W. Black Community Center
1551 N Highway 393, La Grange, KY

Tue., Feb. 9
Newburg Community Center
4810 Exeter Ave., Louisville, KY

Thu., Feb. 11 
Douglass Community Center
2305 Douglass Blvd., Louisville, KY

Tue., Feb. 16 
Shively Community Center
1902 Park Rd., Shively, KY

Thu., Feb. 18 
Spalding University - Egan Leadership Center
901 S 4th St., Louisville, KY

Tue., Feb. 23
Portland Community Center
640 N 27th St., Louisville, KY

Tue., Mar. 1 
Community Action of Southern Indiana
1613 E 8th St., Jeffersonville, IN

Thu., Mar. 3
Cobblestone Hotel & Suites
2201 Grace Ave., Charlestown, IN

Tue., Mar. 8
Clarksville Community Center
2311 Sam Gwin Dr., Clarksville, IN

Thu., Mar. 10
Charlestown - Clark County Public Library
51 Clark Rd., Charlestown, IN

Tue., Mar. 15
YMCA of Floyd County
33 State St., New Albany, IN

Thu., Mar. 24
Sheraton Riverside Hotel
700 W Riverside Dr., Jeffersonville, IN

All open houses are scheduled for 5:30 to 7 p.m., with the exception of the open house on Tuesday, February 23 at Portland Community Center. It's scheduled for 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
For directions or further information, call 502-891-2529 or email riverlinkopenhouses@gmail.com.

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