by Gabe Bullard

Democratic mayoral candidates Jim King and Tyler Allen spoke out Tuesday about proposals to impose tolls to pay for new bridges over the Ohio River in Louisville.

As a bi-state authority moves forward on financing the construction of two new bridges and a reworking of Spaghetti Junction, the prospect of tolling the bridges has been raised. King says he does not support plans to impose tolls on existing bridges. He added that tolls on the new spans would be acceptable, though he doesn’t think they’re necessary.

“When you go back and look at what was given to these big banks around the country and the government giveaways that we have, the cost of these bridges is a rounding error,” says King. “So to say that we can’t get more government money to build them is shortsighted and unrealistic.”

After King’s announcement, Allen held a press conference to say he’s glad to see growing public sentiment against tolls.

“I am pleased when other candidates are paying attention to the issue that I have been stepping up and speaking about for years now,” he says.

Allen went on to say the 4.1 billion dollar bridges project is too expensive to not be financed in part with tolls. He favors a project that includes only one bridge and the elimination of Interstate 64 downtown.

King and Allen are among eight Democrats running for mayor. Three Republicans are also on the primary ballot.