Bridges Authority Reviews Possible Tolls On Spaghetti Junction

by Gabe Bullard on August 19, 2010

The co-chair of the Ohio River Bridges Authority says every major element of the bridges project could be tolled, including Spaghetti Junction.

The project has three parts–a reconfigured Spaghetti Junction, a new downtown bridge and a new bridge in eastern Jefferson County. The authority is trying to figure out how to generate the 4.1 billion dollars needed to pay for all three.  Members previously discussed tolling new and existing bridges, but in a meeting Thursday, they reviewed proposals for tolling east-west interstate traffic through downtown Louisville.

Authority co-chair Kerry Stemler says tolls would only be one part of the eventual financing plan, but a toll on Spaghetti Junction is just as possible as any other.

“I won’t render an opinion on how likely it is. I will tell you it definitely will be looked at, and seriously looked at, at all options. There is nothing that’s not on the table to look at, so it will be seriously considered.”

Several people spoke in opposition to tolls during the public comment portion of the meeting. Some cited a recent poll that showed the majority of Louisvillians opposed to two new bridges and Spaghetti Junction. Shawn Reilly of the Say No To Bridge Tolls group told the authority the three parts of the project should be built separately and at different times to keep costs down and avoid tolls.

“By taking a common-sense look at the Ohio River Bridges Project, one can clearly see that there are at least three operationally-independent phases of work: the east-end bridge, the downtown bridge and the reconfiguration of spaghetti junction,” he said.

Stemler says the whole project will be built.

The authority also looked at the effectiveness of tolls between fifty cents and three dollars. The body hopes to have a financing plan for tolls put together by December.

To see the Wilbur-Smith study of possible tolling scenarios and their effects on traffic, click here. (PDF)

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{ 1 comment }

L Taylor August 20, 2010 at 12:04 pm

“The project has three parts–a reconfigured Spaghetti Junction, a new downtown bridge and a new bridge in eastern Jefferson County.” In light of the weak economy, job loss – why doesn’t the authority reconsider the 3 projects and at least get the east end bridge in place? It is so common sense. If the east end bridge didn’t help the I65 bottleneck – then work on the other two phases. Who is making these decisions and why aren’t they listening to the citizens of Louisville and Southern Indiana? The names of the authority need to be published. There needs to be an accessible way for an every day citizen to voice their concern regarding these projects, tolls and how the construction would further burden their daily commute. Imagine downtown bridge and spaghetti junction construction around the downtown arena. The city might as well get ready to eat the downtown arena losses.

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