Kentucky, Indiana aim to choose toll operator for Louisville bridges project next month
David Talley, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's innovative finance manager, told members of a state board that four finalists are vying for the Ohio River Bridges Project's toll operations contract. He declined to disclose the names of the firms.
But Talley said Kapsch TrafficCom IVHS Inc., which was initially chosen for a $39.9 million contract before it was rescinded last fall, was allowed to bid during a new round of requests for proposals. A joint Kentucky-Indiana bridges board restarted the bidding process in October after an Indiana-led investigation found a potential conflict of interest involving a Kapsch subcontractor.
“There aren't going to be any shenanigans on conflict of interest,” Talley said during Tuesday's meeting of the Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority, which oversees the state's downtown portion of the $2.3 billion project.
The Indiana Finance Authority is in charge of selecting the toll operator. Once chosen and given the go-ahead to start work in May, the company will have about one year to install the toll equipment and test the system, Talley said.
The Kennedy Bridge, a new span next to it and a new eastern bridge will have equipment that tracks vehicles and assesses tolls based on license plates or in-car transponders. Tolls are set to begin in fall 2016.
Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock and other officials from both states couldn't say Tuesday when they expect to adopt a policy that will lock in exact toll rates and include other details, such as rates for frequent drivers.
The states need several more approvals before then, including a report outlining steps to ease the burden of tolls on poor and minority communities. The states have submitted that report to the Federal Highway Administration and are waiting on feedback, Hancock said.
Both states are pursuing membership in the E-ZPass system of electronic toll facilities, allowing local drivers to use the same transponders that work on toll roads elsewhere.
Construction is more than 50 percent complete on both portions of the project, according to an update from Tuesday's meeting.
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