WKU Public Radio News Staff
Tue September 10, 2013
Debate Over Ohio River Bridges Tolls Continues as Bi-State Committee Meets
After delaying action on toll rates for the Ohio River Bridges Project last week, the bi-state committee in charge of setting rates will meet Wednesday to finish the job.
It was a surprise to Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock last week, when Indiana officials said they weren’t ready to approve tolls.
Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Will Wingfield said the delay shouldn’t be considered opposition to the suggested tolls rates, ranging from one to twelve dollars. He said it was just a matter of getting paperwork together.
Hancock was concerned though, and said Kentucky needs to set toll rates to find investors for its portion of the project’s cost.
“As interest rates go up obviously over a 35 year term of a financing deal that amounts to serious money, whether that’s millions I’m quite sure probably is," said Hancock.
Tolls will be collected to help pay for new East End and downtown bridges and to reconfigure Spaghetti Junction. Tolling opponents argue it would cause a hardship for low income commuters and businesses in the region.