Louisville lawmaker asks Attorney General Jack Conway to settle - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville lawmaker asks Attorney General Jack Conway to settle open records fight over bridge tolling plan

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A Louisville lawmaker has asked Attorney General Jack Conway to decide if the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet followed public records law when it refused to release a study on easing bridge tolls on low-income drivers.

Rep. Jim Wayne filed his appeal April 8 with Conway's office, according to documents from the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. A decision is expected next Tuesday, Conway spokesman Leland Hulbert said in an e-mail.

Kentucky and Indiana are finalizing the plan, which will put forth measures to lessen the sting of tolls on low-income and minority drivers, in order to meet a key requirement of the $2.3 billion Ohio River Bridges Project.

Kentucky transportation officials withheld the plan in late March, telling Wayne that it was still a “preliminary document not subject to public inspection” under state law. The plan had been sent to the Federal Highway Administration, which was reviewing it last week.

“The study lost its ‘preliminary character' when it was shared with the FHWA,” Wayne wrote to Conway. “Further, the Cabinet has bestowed the imprimatur of finality on the document by labeling it as a ‘final' assessment.”

Wayne, a Democrat who has served in the Kentucky House since 1991, has pushed legislation in the General Assembly that would create tax breaks on tolls for some low-income Kentucky drivers who work in Indiana and exempt TARC buses from tolls.

Wayne's bill died in a committee in 2014, but he has said he plans to introduce it again next year.

The plan addressing low-income and minority drivers must be complete before Kentucky and Indiana approve a broader tolling policy for the two new Louisville-area bridges under construction and the Kennedy Bridge.

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