Polls for tolls

The Paul Ogle Foundation released a public opinion poll yesterday gauging people’s feelings in the region about the Ohio River Bridges Project and tolling. (Full results and numbers available here.)

The majority of people polled live in either Jefferson County, or in Southern Indiana’s Clark and Floyd counties, though it also included a smaller percentage of people from 10 other surrounding counties. Less than half of those surveyed are “frequent commuters, meaning they make four or more round-trips across the bridge per week.

The results are slightly mixed, with strong general support for new bridges, slight support for tolling the new bridges and construction of the downtown bridge, and strong opposition to tolling existing bridges. Those in Indiana, as well as frequent commuters, are much less likely to support tolling.

Here are some of the findings below, focusing of the support of Jefferson, Clark/Floyd and frequent commuters. While the overall sample size of the poll is large enough (875) to have a small margin of error, the same cannot be said of these three subsets, as they made up 334, 278 and 375, respectively.

(The Ogle Foundation is a big supporter of both new bridges being built, so take whatever grain of salt with those numbers that you see fit…)

Support constructing more bridges across Ohio River:
Favor / Oppose
Total- 65% / 12%
Louisville- 67% / 13%
Indiana- 74% / 6%
Frequent- 76% / 8%

Support East End bridge:
Favor / Oppose
Total- 69 / 12
Louisville- 70 / 12
Indiana- 81 / 4
Frequent- 80 / 7

Support downtown bridge:
Favor / Oppose
Total- 47 / 22
Louisville- 48 / 23
Indiana- 46 / 21
Frequent- 51 / 22

Support tolling for Bridges Project in general:
Favor / Oppose
Total- 50 / 47
Louisville- 53 / 44
Indiana- 36 / 59
Frequent- 44 / 52

Support tolls on new East End bridge:

Total- 62%
Louisville- 65%
Indiana- 57%
Frequent- 60%

Support tolls on new downtown bridge:

Total- 52%
Louisville- 56%
Indiana- 48%
Frequent- 53%

Support tolls for Kennedy bridge:

Total- 33%
Louisville- 35%
Indiana- 29%
Frequent- 29%

Support tolls for Clark Memorial bridge:

Total- 27%
Louisville- 29%
Indiana- 19%
Frequent- 18%

Support tolls for Sherman Minton bridge:

Total- 32%
Louisville- 33%
Indiana- 25%
Frequent- 24%

Tolling Sherman Minton AND Clark Memorial:
Favor / Oppose
Total- 29 / 68
Louisville- 32 / 65
Indiana- 18 / 78
Frequent- 22 / 75


  1. Stunoland
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    The majority of residents do not support tolls to fund the downtown Ohio River Bridge Project., they do support spaghetti junction improvements. If local leadership were to be honest about the necessity of tolling the existing Sherman-Minton bridge then you can guarantee that number would be significantly lower.

  2. Stunoland
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    When voting to allocate $300 million in state road funds the KY state legislature was unaware that the ORBP financial plan relies on replacing the Sherman-Minton in 2032 with a toll bridge. The ORBP relies on the existing Kennedy bridge to handle all south bound I-65 traffic for decades, despite reaching its expected lifespan in 2011. Does that make any sense? The CDSmith consultants in charge of the financial plan and state transportation officials are fully aware that the 2/3rds tolling scenario is fatally flawed.

  3. Stunoland
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Wilbur-Smith, now CDSmith’s track record alone is enough to know that the ORBP tolling studies suffer from an extreme level of optimistic bias. The last 12 tolling studies done by this firm have been off by a collective 127%. That’s right, the estimated revenue was more than double what the states collected in tolls. The preliminary toll studies displayed a complete lack of integrity with such absurd assumptions as the average local resident valuing his/her commute time at an absurd $21.60. In 2009 the same company used a Value Of Time assumption for the Washington D.C. metro area, median income $72,800, that was 66% lower. One study actually assumed the total number of bridge crossings would be the same under a $3 tolling scenario as in a toll-free scenario. This fails the common sense test.

  4. Stunoland
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    The vast majority of public comments received supported prioritizing the east end bridge over a tolled 2 bridges project. A consistent majority of those attending bridges meetings were opposed to the 2 bridges project. Now only 2 scientific polls have ever been conducted on this issue. One indicated that >60% of Louisvillians favored the east end bridge over a tolled 2 bridges project. The other indicated that only 47% favored toll for another downtown bridge. And that is without knowing the project relies on the Sherman-Minton bridge being tolled.

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  1. [...] Bellermine’s leaders, a recent poll commissioned by a foundation in southern Indiana showed mixed results on support for building the bridges and showed that residents aren’t satisfied with how elected officials have handled the [...]