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July 20, 2013

Weigh in on bridges tolling at public meetings

The first is Monday in Clarksville

CLARK COUNTY — The Ohio River Bridges Project is seeking public input on tolling at two open house meetings scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, July 22 and 23.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Indiana Department of Transportation committed to a more extensive analysis of potential economic impacts of using tolls, which will help pay for the new bridges and highways under construction as part of the Revised Record of Decision from the Federal Highway Administration, according to a bridges project press release. A draft assessment of the economic impacts of tolls on low-income and minority populations, including an evaluation of potential measures to mitigate disproportionate effects has been posted on the bridges project website kyinbridges.com.

The project is seeking public input on the report and potential mitigation measures.

The open houses are scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, July 22, at the Holiday Inn Clarksville, 505 Marriott Drive; and 4 to 7 Tuesday, July 23, at the Kentucky Center for African-American Heritage, 1701 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd., in Louisville.

For those using public transportation, the route information for Transit Authority of River City for the July 22 meeting is take TARC to the Spring Street stops at 14th or 15th streets in Jeffersonville. A shuttle to the Holiday Inn Clarksville will be provided at that point. For the July 23 meeting take TARC to the Muhammad Ali and 17th Street stop.

At the meetings, people will have a chance to learn more about the project, plans for tolling and measures being considered to lessen the impacts of tolling on low-income and minority populations. Display areas will feature information boards, and project representatives will be on hand to talk one-on-one with residents. Informational videos and handouts will be available.

People can comment any time before July 26 online at kyinbridges.com and click on the downtown links “News, Events and Alerts” or  east-end links “Newsroom;” letters can be mailed to Bridges Project Research, 620 W. Main St., 4th Floor, Louisville, KY, 40202; court reporters will be available at stations at the public meetings for anyone who wants to dictate comments; and comment forms will be made available at the meetings.

Residents are encouraged to read the draft report prepared by the states. A report also is available online at kyinbridges.com. Copies will also be available at the meeting or at public library branches in Louisville, Jeffersonville and Clarksville. Copies have also been distributed to numerous community centers in the area.

In addition to the public comments being sought by the bridges project Kentucky and Indiana are reaching out to low-income and minority populations in a variety of ways to ensure they are informed and have a chance to comment on the impacts of tolling, according to the release. The states are conducting interviews with representative samples of community leaders and residents in low-income and minority neighborhoods. Nearly 250 people have provided input through interviews to date.

These responses, along with the input from open house meetings, comment forms and other methods, will be incorporated into a final report that will be submitted to Federal Highway Administration and a bistate tolling body, which will set toll rates.

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