Kentucky Agency Joins E-ZPass, Getting Ready for Tolling on Bi-State Bridges

AASHTO Journal, 7 August 2015

The Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority voted July 29 to join the E-ZPass Group’s electronic toll payment program, saying that will benefit future toll system users of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges project.

With an E-ZPass transponder, tolls can automatically be paid on any toll road or bridge operated by any member agency of the multistate E-ZPass Group.

“Electronic toll collection is the most cost-effective system available to motorists for paying for the use of tolled highways and bridges,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock, who also is KPTIA chairman.

“All E-ZPass toll facilities offer transponders that are interoperable – meaning that a single transponder will work for any and all E-ZPass systems,” Hancock said.

The KPTIA is financing the Downtown Crossing portion of the project, which is building a new bridge to carry Interstate 65’s northbound traffic between Louisville and Jeffersonville, Ind., and convert the existing I-65 John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge to carry southbound traffic.

Indiana is building the other half of the project – the East End Crossing between Prospect, Ky., and Utica, Ind.

Toll revenue will help finance all three crossings, and E-ZPass transponders can be used for all three. Tolling will begin in late 2016 and will be completely electronic, with no toll plazas, no coin buckets and no lines of traffic at pay stations.

Vehicles passing through tolling gantries are monitored by onboard electronic transponders and by overhead video cameras that record license plates.

The public transportation authority said motorists using transponders will be charged the lowest toll rates as their tolls will be automatically debited from established accounts. Higher rates due to higher administrative costs will apply to motorists who must be tracked by camera identification of their license plates.

However, the agency said users of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges who opt against purchasing the E-ZPass transponder can still realize the cost benefits of automatic electronic payment with a free decal-sticker transponder that would only work on the Bridges Project.

But for long-distance travelers, E-ZPass Group has 26 member agencies in 15 states, including five of the seven states bordering Kentucky – Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia.

Toll roads in those states include the Illinois Tollway system, West Virginia Turnpike, Ohio Turnpike, Indiana Toll Road, and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

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