By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor
Discontent over a plan that sought to toll three existing bridges in the Louisville area in order to pay for new Ohio River bridges has spurred action at the Kentucky statehouse.
Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, has introduced a bill that would make sure tolls are not added. The bill, dubbed the “Keeping Kentucky’s Freeways Free Act,” would make it illegal to charge tolls on existing roadways to pay for new projects.
If approved by lawmakers, tolls could not be charged on the Sherman-Minton Bridge, Clark Memorial Bridge and John F. Kennedy Bridge to pay for the new east-end and downtown bridges.
Public pressure on the Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority – including a petition by Say No to Bridge Tolls and calls to action by OOIDA to members in the area – has helped convince officials to pursue other, cheaper options.
To appease critics of the plan, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced that the bridges project and complete overhaul of the Spaghetti Junction interchange would be scaled back to save $500 million.
“Now is the time to dig deeper and move faster to make it a reality,” Beshear said in a statement. “Let’s start the New Year with a firm commitment to reduce the costs of the project.”
The Bridges Authority agreed to the slimmed-down plans, which will not include tolls on the Sherman-Minton Bridge, Clark Memorial Bridge or Spaghetti Junction.
Perry’s bill – SB43 – would prohibit tolls from being added to existing infrastructure. It is awaiting consideration in the Senate Transportation Committee.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Kentucky, click here.
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Copyright © 2011 OOIDA