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November 20, 2012

Clarksville establishes fund to fight tolls

Isgrigg, Gwyn to help with sewer, other work

CLARKSVILLE — The Clarksville Town Council unanimously voted to contribute $10,000 to a legal fund to fight proposed tolls on the new downtown bridge and the Kennedy Bridge at its meeting Monday meeting.

The tolls will have a huge negative impact on the businesses and residents of Clarksville, said Councilman Paul Fetter, who brought the motion to establish the defense fund before the council. Fetter said that a study conducted by the Indiana Finance Authority predicted that over a 30-year period, bridge tolls would create a negative impact of $7.5 billion along the Interstate 65 corridor.

“Can Clarksville, which borders I-65 for seven miles from the river to Plum Run, can we take that kind of negative impact to our town’s businesses and our citizens? I don’t think so,” Fetter said. “Nothing’s been done to mitigate that for us. It’s just, ‘We’re going to do this. We’re going to get positive economic impact from the East End Bridge.”

Fetter said he doesn’t take issue with tolling on the East End Bridge, as it is new infrastructure. But the new bridge downtown will do nothing to mitigate traffic issues between Southern Indiana and Louisville, Fetter said.

“If you’re going to build that extra piece of infrastructure and create economic damage to our community, we should maybe re-evaluate,” Fetter said.

The enormous negative affect of tolls on bridges between downtown Louisville and Southern Indiana would hurt Clarksville, Council President John Gilkey said.

“If we have a significant negative impact on businesses in Clarksville and we start losing businesses, that’s going to be a blow that the town will have a lot of trouble absorbing,” Gilkey said. “It could profoundly impact tax rates throughout the town. We think it’s important to investigate the possibility of minimizing or eliminating those tolls and do that on the behalf of the people and businesses of the Town of Clarksville.”

Fetter is one of the co-founders of No 2 Bridge Tolls, an organization that has long opposed tolling on the downtown bridge. Fetter, general manager of Clark County Auto Auction, has said in the past that tolls would severely hurt his business.

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