Toll free? Governors agree to cut costs on Louisville bridges

Toll opponents in Louisville won a victory in early January, but there’s still work to be done.

Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky, and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer agreed to scale back the Ohio River Bridges Project, save $500 million, and work to keep at least two of the three existing bridges free of tolls.

“This is a major victory for the Say No to Bridge Tolls campaign,” said Louisville resident Shawn Reilly, founder of the anti-toll group. “Our state leaders and bridge authority are moving in the right direction. There’s still more they need to do.”

The original plan, expected to cost $4 billion, was to toll up to three existing bridges – the Sherman Minton Bridge (I-64), Clark Memorial Bridge (U.S. 31), and John F. Kennedy Bridge (I-65) – to pay for two new bridges and to fund a complete overhaul of the Spaghetti Junction interchange. The work will still happen, but lanes may be reduced and other cost-savings will be implemented, according to the governors.

“We want to make sure that all existing bridges remain toll free,” Reilly said. “Right now they’ve met us on the Sherman-Minton and Clark Memorial. We want to make sure that the Kennedy Bridge is toll free as well. If they build it in phases, there will be no need for tolls.”

OOIDA stands with the Say No to Bridge Tolls group on the issue. LL

By David Tanner, associate editor