A Louisville Metro Council committee Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution that opposes tolling existing bridges to pay for new bridges.
The nonbinding legislation recognizes that tolls will be necessary to finance two bridges. But it asks the bi-state Bridges Authority to only toll new bridges. It does, however, say tolls may be necessary on the Kennedy Bridge when a new bridge is built downtown.
Resolution co-sponsor Jim King says he hopes federal funding will make up for any money tolls on existing bridges might have otherwise provided.
“If this is a critical part of transportation strategy in the eastern United States, then the federal government should step up and be a bigger part of this and not just give us the funds that we are normally entitled to, but give us a special allocation,” he says.
Co-sponsor Tina Ward-Pugh says one way to secure federal money is to make room for public rail transit on the new downtown bridge.
“If the funding authority can look at perhaps a future of transportation different from the automobile than we have a better chance of attracting federal dollars to do something like that,” she says.
The Bridges Authority is expected to have a financing plan for the project complete by the end of this year. Members have studied the effect of tolling on existing bridges. The resolution will go before the full Metro Council next week. The New Albany City Council has approved a similar resolution.