Local News
12:45 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Clarksville Council Approves $10,000 to Fight Bridge Tolls; Jeffersonville May Follow

The Clarksville Town Council unanimously approved the investment of $10,000 to challenge tolls on the new I-65 bridge that’s part of the Ohio River Bridges Project and others may join the cause soon.

The Bridges Project would build another I-65 bridge and likely toll both.

Bi-state officials say tolls are a necessary part of the bridges project, but they’ve been long contested as being cumbersome on regional commuters and businesses.

According to Clarksville Councilman Paul Fetters—who introduced the discussion at Monday’s meeting—a suit must be filed within six months of the Federal Highway Administration’s record of decision approving the bridges project, which happened earlier this year.

Joining Clarksville Town Council could be Jeffersonville’s City Council and the Clark-Floyd Counties Convention and Tourism Bureau.

When Jeffersonville Councilman Dennis Julius—who has been a long-time opponent of tolling any downtown bridge—brought up the idea to support the challenge at Monday’s city council meeting, the response was positive, Julius said.

“We tabled it for the next meeting. What I wanted to do was find out how Clarksville was going to funnel the money and how the tourism bureau is going to funnel the money into this,” he said.

Julius plans to ask the council at its next meeting—in two weeks—to consider matching Clarksville’s $10,000.

The Clark-Floyd Counties Convention and Tourism Bureau will discuss joining the opposition at its board meeting Wednesday, according to director James Keith.

“We’ll pass a resolution and it will have dollars attached to it,” he said.

How much the southern Indiana tourism bureau will invest is unknown, said Keith.

None expressed opposition to tolling the East End Bridge, which Indiana is responsible for building.

But the effects to downtown and along the Indiana’s I-65 corridor concerns residents and businesses, officials say.

Tolls on any of the three bridges involved in the project have not yet been set, but preliminary reports say they could range from $1 for regular commuters, $2 for cars, $5 for commercials vehicles and up to $10 for larger trucks.