Proposed tolls unbalanced solution
One definition of ‘balanced’ is an even distribution of elements that are equal or in correct proportions.
The opposite of ‘balanced’ is the plan the Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority approved last week in a proposal that would use electronic tolls to raise about $2.2 billion of the $4.1 billion needed to pay for the Ohio River Bridges Project. The plan isn’t set in stone, but it calls for tolls likely to be placed on the John F. Kennedy Bridge linking Jeffersonville and Louisville and the Sherman Minton Bridge connecting New Albany with Louisville. The George Rogers Clark Bridge connecting Clarksville and Louisville would have no tolls.
While Louisville would receive much of the benefits of having another bridge ‘ be it in the east end of Louisville to complete a necessary loop around the city, or downtown to ease traffic on the Kennedy, or both ‘ it seems as though it’s Hoosiers who will likely be footing more than its share of the bill. The bridge(s) may carry traffic both ways, but you can bet your EZPass a lot of the funding is going only one direction.
Multiple traffic studies have shown the largest volume of traffic on the Kennedy Bridge is southbound weekdays between 6 and 9 a.m. and northbound weekdays between 3 and 6 p.m. If there were a way to check license plates during heavy drive times, it’d be a pretty safe bet a majority of those vehicles come from Indiana, likely workers going to and from work.
Want to take your family from Indiana to see a University of Louisville basketball game? Louisville Bats baseball? Kentucky State Fair? A concert at the KFC Yum! Center? Louisville Zoo? Louisville Science Center? Actors Theatre or Kentucky Center for the Arts? How about the new Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway? You’ll be paying a little extra to cross the Ohio River.
Typically, toll roads (or bridges) are built, then tolls applied. Why anyone would think it would be OK to place tolls on pre-existing bridges and roads is ludicrous. Hopefully, the idea will be squashed just like the one in April when the Federal Highway Administration rejected Pennsylvania’s request to toll Interstate 80 because the money raised would not be used exclusively for I-80. If that same kind of thinking is put in place locally, tolls raised on the two bridges here should only be used for those two bridges.
Hoosiers don’t want tolls. Hoosier business owners don’t want tolls. Let’s see if the Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority can find a balanced plan for paying for these needed bridges.