Businesses serving both Louisville and southern Indiana are having to factor in higher toll costs this summer. And commuters are feeling the crunch, too.
RiverLink will raise its rates more than 8%, effective July 1. This will be the first time since tolls began in 2016 that inflation is behind the annual rate increase.
Gary Maloney owns Nu-Yale Dry Cleaning, which covers areas of both Kentucky and Indiana. Maloney initially tried offsetting the cost of tolls by reorganizing routes to incur fewer tolls and cutting back Nu-Yale’s service area.
“We did what we could to offset when the [tolls] started,” Maloney said. “We’ve run out of options to offset.”
Many residents of southern Indiana and Louisville have criticized the tolls along the Abraham Lincoln, Kennedy and Lewis and Clark Bridges. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and some Metro Council members have also called for ending tolls on these bridges.
Maloney said he also supports ending fees. Rising prices throughout the economy make tolls an added burden, he said.
“You take the tolls, you take the gas, you take the food — it’s hitting a lot of people, it’s just compounding,” Maloney said.
A commuter who crosses the bridge twice a day, five days a week and doesn’t prepay can expect those trips to cost $48 a week, or around $200 a month. Prepaid accounts with transponders save 50% per crossing.
Kiera Hall lives in New Albany, Ind., and commutes across the Kennedy Bridge daily with a transponder. Though the toll is an added cost for her, she said she doesn’t have time for another route.
“I have kids to pick up in daycare so I can’t always afford to see if I’m going to get stuck in traffic for 40 minutes if something unexpected happens or if traffic backs way up,” Hall said.
Toll fees, which fund bridge projects and maintenance across the Ohio River, are expected to continue until 2053.