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LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- Five members of the Metro Council's Democratic caucus urged their constituents to take part in upcoming toll meetings after a recent Ohio River Bridges study showed the burden of tolling may fall greater on low-income and minority drivers.
"We would encourage, we would strongly encourage our constituents to get involved in this process," said Councilman Rick Blackwell, D - Council District 12.
With tolls likely needed to help pay for two new Ohio River bridges, collecting public comment is part of the process as Kentucky and Indiana try to hammer out a tolling policy. A tolling advisory recommended $1 to $2 for frequent users and up to $10 for semis, but those dollar amounts are not set in stone, according to Mindy Peterson, a spokeswoman for the bridges project.
A recent bridges project study showed tolls will have a greater impact on low-income and minority drivers - particularly among those who frequently cross the bridge to shop in southern Indiana.
"We are concerned about the people who work and shop and dine periodically across the river... on both sides of the river," said Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D - Council District 5.
Hamilton and Councilwoman Attica Scott, D - Council District 1, both represent sections of Metro Louisville with constituents they say fall into the categories of low-income and minority.
"We know that you go (to shop in Indiana) because our neighborhoods lack little to no real retail - that you have to go across the river and get what you need. So be sure to come out and share your concerns," said Scott.
The study, posted on the bridges project website, claims low income drivers will spend a higher percentage of their income on tolls.
"Well right now I'm not real happy to pay a toll to get across on a daily basis. I work at GE Appliance Park so I'm going to have to travel back and forth frequently," said Cahill.
Charles Cahill says his daily trips to work in Louisville would place him in the "frequent" user category.
"We spend a lot of time in Louisville so we have a lot of concerns about how much it might cost in the long run to get back and forth," he said.
Cahill says he wants to let project leaders know about the "toll" crossing two bridges will have on his checkbook.
Monday's toll meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn in Clarksville, Indiana on Marriott Drive from 4 to 7 p.m.
Tuesday's meeting will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. in Louisville at the African-American Heritage Center on 18th and Muhammad Ali Blvd.