In an unanimous vote, the Clark County City Council approved a resolution against tolling as a means to pay for the $4.1 billion Ohio River Bridges Project — which seeks build an East End bridge, a downtown bridge and expand Spaghetti Junction.
Last night, the southern Indiana county joined the New Albany City Council and Louisville Metro Council, which have already approved similar anti-tolling measure. A similar resolution against tolls, however failed to pass in the Jeffersonville City Council last month.
The series of resolutions are a victory for anti-tolling organizers, however, they recognize it does not represent any binding agreement with the Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority, which is still trying to stitch together a financing plan for the project.
“Alone these kind of resolutions will not stop the tolls being proposed, but they are definitely a step in the right direction,” says Paul Fetter, a Clark County resident who is a member of the group, Say NO to Bridge Tolls. “It’s still necessary for citizens to contact our elected representatives and express their concerns about tolling, as well as sign our no tolls petition, which already has 5,000 signatures. It’s either that or two years from now, prepare to be paying a toll whenever you want to go to Louisville from Southern Indiana.”
The bridges authority could still impose tolls on motorists to help fund the behemoth public works project, but anti-tolling organizers believe the resolutions are sending the bi-state authority and project supporters a clear message that the majority in Louisville and southern Indiana are opposed to tolling existing infrastructure.
Tolls have been a hot button issue since the bridges authority released a financial estimate that suggested $3 one-way tolls to finance the plan. According to the 12-page report, which was released to a regional transportation agency, charging drivers $3 each way would cover half of the cost. The anti-tolling sentiment ratcheted up again when the authority considered tolling scenarios that included parts of Spaghetti Junction, which don’t cross the Ohio River.