Transportation and finance leaders from Indiana and Kentucky voted today to approve several measures preparing for the start of RiverLink, the new, all-electronic tolling system making the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project possible.
The Tolling Body today approved the Bridges Project’s toll policy and business rules, which includes vehicle classification, account management information and fee structure on unpaid tolls.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) commissioner, the Indiana public finance director, the Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority (KPTIA) chairman and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet secretary, or their designees, make up the project’s Joint Board. A separate Tolling Body includes the four Joint Board members and an appointed member from each state.
Nonpayment invoices and fees
The lowest toll rates are for drivers with transponders. Drivers with a prepaid account and registered license plate, but no transponder, will pay $1 more per crossing. The highest rates are for drivers with no prepaid account and no transponder.
Signage will notify drivers without a prepaid account that they have 15 days to pay tolls before a bill is mailed to the vehicle owner. The initial bill will give drivers 30 days to pay the amount of the tolls without any fees.
Unpaid tolls may be paid online at the RiverLink.com secure website using a credit card, debit card or checking account. Customer service centers on both sides of the river will also accept cash.
“Toll rates are higher without a transponder because of the increased administrative costs associated with reading license plates and researching the vehicle owner information,” said Jim Stark, INDOT deputy commissioner of innovative project delivery. “In the same way, nonpayment fees are assessed on a per invoice basis, instead of multiplying with unpaid tolls, to offset costs to mail the invoices and collect overdue amounts.”
Starting with the second bill, a $5 administrative fee will be added for each invoice with 30 days to pay. After a total of more than two months of unpaid tolls, the account will be in violation status with a $25 violation fee added to the bill. After more than three months of unpaid tolls, the account will be placed in collection status with an additional $30 collection fee.
After a total of more than four months, a hold will be placed on renewal of Indiana and Kentucky vehicle registrations until tolls and fees are paid.
The Tolling Body approved the RiverLink vehicle classifications unveiled this week. Initial toll rates will range from $2-$12 depending on vehicle height, the number of axles, whether a transponder is in use and whether the driver has a prepaid account.
E-ZPass and special transponders
The Joint Board approved making Riverlink interoperable with E-ZPass transponders used in 16 other states. The RiverLink E-ZPass transponder can be moved among vehicles registered to a single account and will cost $15 per transponder.
RiverLink will use KPTIA’s new membership in the E-ZPass Group with Indiana paying half of any Bridges Project-specific costs.
The RiverLink local transponder only works on local bridges and will be available for free, one per registered vehicle. The Joint Board also authorized KPTIA to acquire special transponders that will be available later this year to mount on motorcycles and license plates. Some lowemissivity (low-e) windshields will require a transponder mounted on the license plate.
Tolling advisor, custodian approved
The Joint Board named Parsons Transportation Group as the project’s tolling advisor after serving as interim tolling advisor since June 2015.
“The states considered all available options and determined that INDOT’s competitively-bid contract was the best method to ensure needed services were available on time,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Greg Thomas.
The Joint Board also approved Indiana’s and Kentucky’s selection of U.S. Bank as the project’s custodian responsible for safekeeping and distribution of toll revenues.
Start of Tolling
Tolling will begin when cross-river capacity is added to the system. That means either the improved John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge or the new East End bridge will be complete and fully open to traffic. Both are expected to happen late this year. Transponders will be available and customer service centers are expected to open by late summer.
The new Abraham Lincoln Bridge, the improved Kennedy Bridge and the new East End bridge will be tolled. The Sherman Minton Bridge and the Clark Memorial Bridge will not be tolled.