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April 10, 2013

Downtown bridge construction to start July 1

Tolling could begin as early as April 2016



If the new Interstate 65 bridge is completed and open to traffic in April 2016, it would also be the start date for the states to begin collecting tolls.

According to the bistate development agreement signed by the states, tolling is scheduled to start on the new bridges “as soon as each is open to traffic.” In addition, tolling of the Kennedy Bridge can begin when the earliest of one of the following occurs: the date when the new downtown crossing is sufficiently complete and open to traffic; the date of the east-end crossing’s substantial completion; or June 30, 2018.

The Kentucky-Indiana Joint Tolling Board, which includes leaders of the two states’ transportation and finance agencies, have yet to meet or officially set toll rates.

A consultant — Steer, Davies, Gleave — in completing a traffic and revenue study told the Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority last month that commuters could expect rates at $1 for frequent commuters each way; $2 for nonfrequent two-axle vehicles; $5 for medium trucks; and $10 for heavy trucks.

Barber said the tolling agreement could change if both states were to agree to it and added the bistate pact was written prior to knowing what the schedules were for the procurement process.

Both states have committed to use all-electronic tolling, in which users of the bridges can pay tolls via a vehicle-mounted electronic transponder that sends a signal to the tolling devices that debits the cost from an established account or a high-resolution video that captures images of a vehicle’s license plate and then send bills to the bridge users.

A final traffic and revenue study is expected soon, which is required in advance of the bond sales to finance the project. Barber said the timeline for Kentucky to sell its bonds is still on track.

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