LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky has met the conditions needed to join the E-Z Pass Group’s decision-making board before an April 30 deadline, according to the state’s Transportation Cabinet.

Cabinet spokesman Ryan Watts said in an email Tuesday that the state now is a member of the group, whose agencies manage roads and collect tolls in 16 states. Kentucky sought to join ahead of the scheduled start of tolling on the Ohio River Bridges Project by the end of 2016.

The approval comes after months of negotiations that included a veto by New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority to temporarily deny Kentucky a seat on the executive board.

The state is represented by the Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority, a mostly governor-appointed agency created by the General Assembly in 2009. In order to join, it had to make an initial $100,000 payment and complete tests on toll-collection equipment.

Kentucky and Indiana plan to begin charging drivers to cross three bridges between Louisville and Clark County, Ind., later this year. The spans include the Interstate 65 Lincoln and Kennedy bridges, as well as a yet-to-be-named eastern crossing still being built.

The tolls will be collected electronically. A driver without an in-car transponder or account linked to a license plate will receive an invoice in the mail.

The states chose E-ZPass for the transponders that can be used in the Louisville area and other parts of the U.S. in the E-ZPass network. A local transponder that only works on the Ohio River bridges also will be available.

When Kentucky announced its plans to join E-ZPass last summer, an Indiana official said his state would seek membership for the bridges project in 2016. The Indiana Toll Road Concession Co., which operates a toll road between Ohio and Illinois, already is on the board.

Will Wingfield, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said the state no longer plans to join E-ZPass.  

“Since Indiana is not pursuing other tolling projects right now, it made sense for Kentucky to represent the Bridges Project’s interests with E-ZPass,” he said in a written statement. “Indiana will also provide input in other industry forums regarding interoperability and electronic tolling issues.”

Watts declined to say whether Kentucky would seek to have Indiana reimburse it for the membership costs, instead issuing a statement that said: “Kentucky is reviewing the details concerning the EZ Pass agreement and will confer with our partners in Indiana.”

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