LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 11, 2013) – Initial base toll rates have been set for the new Ohio River Bridges Project, which is under construction and scheduled for completion in 2016.
The Kentucky-Indiana Tolling Body on Wednesday approved rates previously recommended by Kentucky and Indiana transportation officials. The two states will use all-electronic tolling, in which there are no toll plazas, no coin buckets and no slowing of traffic. Vehicles passing through tolling gantries will be monitored in two ways: onboard electronic transponders that send signals to monitors and video cameras that record license plates from overhead gantries.
The initial rates for vehicles paying tolls with transponders will be $1 for frequent commuter cars, $2 for cars, $5 for box and panel trucks and $10 for tractor trailers. More detailed criteria for frequent commuters and truck classifications will be determined by the Tolling Body in future meetings setting tolling policy.
Higher rates – because of higher administrative costs – will be charged for motorists who don’t use transponders and must be tracked by video camera identification of their license plates.
Motorists who register their license plates and establish pre-paid accounts will pay $3 for cars, $6 for medium trucks and $11 for heavy trucks. For motorists who don’t register and choose to be invoiced rather than establish pre-paid accounts, the rates will be $4 for cars, $7 for medium trucks and $12 for heavy trucks.
To keep pace with inflation, the Tolling Body also approved an annual toll rate increase of 2.5 percent or the inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Price Index, whichever is greater. Once the initial rates had been in effect for at least one year, the increases would take effect July 1 each year thereafter.
Toll revenues will be shared equally by Kentucky and Indiana to help meet their financial obligations to pay for the project.
An investment-grade study, commissioned bythe Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority, projected that these initial toll rates will generate enough revenue to cover Kentucky’s share of project costs. Indiana financed its share through a public-private agreement with WVB East End Partners, which will be repaid with toll revenues and other sources according to performance standards in the agreement.
The initial toll rates also provide the information financial investors will need when Kentucky sells bonds this fall to complete its financing of the Bridges Project. The information is also necessary to seek federal loan financing known as TIFIA – Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act – at lower interest rates.
The Tolling Body was created through a bi-state development agreement to take official action on behalf of both states to facilitate and assist in completing the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project. The Joint Board consists of four members: the Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority (KPTIA) Chairman, the Indiana Public Finance Director, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary and the Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner, or their designees.
The Tolling Body is responsible for establishing tolling policy and developing a plan to ease the burden of tolls on disadvantaged populations. It consists of six members: the Joint Board members plus one additional representative each from KPTIA and the Indiana Finance Authority.
Kentucky and Indiana are jointly building the massive project, which is needed to improve safety and reduce congestion for motorists crossing the Ohio River between Louisville and Southern Indiana.
About the project
The Ohio River Bridges Project involves construction of two new bridges and their approaches, rehabilitation of the Interstate 65 John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge and reconstruction of the Kennedy Interchange, where I-65, I-64 and I-71 come together in downtown Louisville.
The project has two parts:
- Downtown Crossing – A new bridge to carry northbound I-65 traffic between Louisville and Jeffersonville, Ind. Renovation of the Kennedy Memorial Bridge to carry southbound I-65 traffic. Reconstruction of the Kennedy Interchange.
- East End Crossing – A new bridge, upriver from Louisville, to connect the Gene Snyder Freeway in Kentucky with the Lee Hamilton Highway in Southern Indiana. It will complete a loop around the greater Louisville area.
Kentucky is in charge of building and financing the Downtown Crossing, using a combination of federal highway funds and bond sales, including toll revenue bonds that will be issued by KPTIA. Walsh Construction Co. leads the design-build team.
Indiana is in charge of the East End Crossing, which is being built and financed as a Public-Private Partnership involving the Indiana Department of Transportation, Indiana Finance Authority and the contracting team, WVB East End Partners.