Wed August 28, 2013
Ohio River Bridges Tolls Will Cost Commuters More Than Reported
Tolls for the Ohio River Bridges Project will likely cost commuters more than reported after officials add the administrative fees for processing payments.
The Indiana and Kentucky Tolling Body is expected to approve tolls next week to help pay for the Bridges Project, which incudes a new East End and downtown bridge and the reworking on Spaghetti Junction.
When the bridges open, there will be no physical person collecting tolls.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman Chuck Wolfe says instead commuters can choose one of three ways to cross the bridges and pay.
The first is by using an electronic transponder that will cost average commuters $1 and is the cheapest way to cross. Drives can also register their vehicles with the state or just simply pass through and allow a video camera to record the license plate. In both options commuters would be mailed an invoice, Wolfe says.
But he adds there will be additional administrative fees for processing payments via these different services.
“The rate will be higher for video because it will be more expensive to do it that way. Every toll transaction has a cost associated with it,” Wolfe says.
The lowest administrative costs will be associated with electronic transponders, he says.
“The cost for a toll transaction done by electronic transponder is very low and so people who opt for use of a transponder then, understandably and rightly, deserve to reap the benefit of the lowest toll rate," Wolfe says.
Those additional processing fees have not yet been set, he says. Bi-state officials are in the process of searching for a contractor through a bidding process who would determine the extra administrative costs.
On Friday, the Kentucky Public Infrastructure Authority will meet to receive the traffic and revenue study, which will outline projections of the effects of the project. The projections are necessary to help the Tolling Body set tolls, which helps Kentucky issue bonds it will use to pay for its portion of the project.
The tolls expected to be approved are $1 for frequent commuters with a transponder device, $2 for other regular sized vehicles, $5 for larger trucks and $10 for commercial trucks.
Also, bi-state officials need to still decide who constitutes a frequent commuter, which has not yet been defined, Wolfe says.