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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, December 31, 2017 1:00 am

Tolls on Ohio River bridges being adjusted

Associated Press

JEFFERSONVILLE – The group overseeing tolling on three Ohio River bridges linking Indiana and Kentucky plans to tweak the tolling system to make it more user-friendly and to address other issues that have cropped up in its first year.

RiverLink spokeswoman Mindy Peterson said the all-electronic tolling network plans changes during 2018 to improve the system's user-friendliness and make other improvements.

“We're really in our infancy – we are less than a year old,” she told the Courier-Journal of Louisville. “We don't have the maturity of other tolling systems, so we're always looking for improvements.”

The RiverLink system debuted on Dec. 30, 2016, for the John F. Kennedy Memorial and Abraham Lincoln bridges, which link Jeffersonville and Louisville, Kentucky. The system also includes the Lewis and Clark bridge that connects Prospect, Kentucky, and Utica.

The system uses cameras to photograph the license plates of motorists without transponders and bill them for crossings. But some motorists have complained about long customer-service wait times and other issues, including difficulty getting and paying their bills.

Louisville resident Millard Graybeal said he used the Lewis and Clark bridge nearly a year ago for a visit to Indiana but still hasn't received a bill in the mail, despite calling twice to check on it.

“I really would like to get the bill and pay the doggone thing so I can get it off my mind,” he said.

Jeffersonville resident Michael Sadofsky, who drives every weekday to his job in downtown Louisville, said that if he takes a sick day or if there's a holiday, he sometimes doesn't make the 40 monthly crossings frequent drivers need to qualify for a 50 percent discount.

“There's been several times I've went out of my way to use the Kennedy or Lincoln just to hit 40 because it's a huge saving,” Sadofsky said.

Peterson said unhappy customers represent a small portion of bridge users. She said most motorists cross the tolled bridges without trouble.

As of Nov. 30, more than 27 million drivers had used the bridges, or roughly 82,000 crossings a day.

At $2 to $4 per crossing for a passenger vehicle, RiverLink has collected $71.5 million since its debut and that money was split evenly between Kentucky and Indiana.