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June 29, 2013

Bridges officials seek ways to mitigate hit to minority, low-income population

(Continued)

COST ANALYSIS

An expected-cost analysis showed that tolling will more significantly affect that group.

According to the assessment, the regular population would see an 11 percent increase from $9.15 to $10.13 in costs per trip over the Ohio River. For minority and low-income groups, the increase was 21 percent from $6.75 to $8.16 per trip.

And according to the study and assessment, the targeted population use the bridges frequently.

“The study indicated that 36 percent of low-income populations and 57 percent of minority populations cross the Ohio River by car every weekday or several times per week,” according to the assessment.

The frequency of use, and the proposed toll rate, have a significant effect on the cost the population will have to pay to continue similar use.

Based on the calculation provided in the report of $1 each way — the frequent commuter rate — tolls would cost about $40 per month, or $480 annually. For a low-income individual — based on 2010 and 2011 Health and Human Services poverty threshold for annual income — that would total about 4 percent of the individual’s annual gross income.

PUBLIC COMMENT

The public is encouraged to comment on the assessment and proposed tactics to offset the burden on minorities and those earning a lower income.

A report and public input on the measures evaluated will be used by members of a bistate tolling body as they make decisions about tolling policy.

As part of the public input process, the states are also conducting interviews with representative samples of community leaders and residents in low-income and minority neighborhoods. Those responses, along with the input from open house meetings, comment forms and other methods, will be incorporated into a report that will be reviewed by the Federal Highway Administration and the bistate tolling body.

Comments can be made online at kyindbridges.com. The full report is also online at the same website.

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