SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT | What you need to know before tolling starts on 3 Louisville bridges
In this WDRB special assignment, Candyce Clifft explains the five things you need to know when tolling starts later this year.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Say goodbye to your free rides across three Louisville bridges.
Cameras and sensors already hang on area bridges and will soon be used for tolling the Kennedy, Lincoln and East End bridges.
They will either scan your license plate or read a transponder in your car.
"It really is worth it for everybody to get a transponder, set up a RiverLink account," said Mindy Peterson with The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
1. Setting up your account:
Start with setting up your account. You have to put in at least $20 to open a RiverLink account with up to four vehicles per account.
"You need five pieces of info for each vehicle. Year, make, model, color and license plate number," Peterson said.
RiverLink will then send you a free transponder, which is a sticker you place on your windshield near the rear-view mirror.
2. How much will it cost?
What about cost? With a transponder, each trip across one of the tolled bridges will cost $2.
People who travel the bridges daily for work have a chance to pay one dollar per crossing, but you have to make 40 crossings per month to get the retroactive credit. And, that number resets each calendar month.
"It's automatic when you hit 40 trips. You don't have to do anything. We know you made it, you will get the credit. It will be automatic, and every additional trip that month will be at that discounted rate of a dollar," Peterson said.
Here's where it pays to know the system: If you've been sick and missed two days of work, you'll want to consider crossing the bridge a couple times to shop or have dinner.
Getting to 20 round trips would mean you paid $40 that month, thanks to the discount. But making only 18 round trips would cost $72 dollars.
"You have to be to the positive. You cannot have a negative balance and get the discount," Peterson said.
That's why RiverLink suggests you set your account to "automatic recharge," or at least request notices when your balance is low.
Having no transponder is the most expensive option.
The cost is $4 per crossing, or $8 round trip.
RiverLink will mail you a bill for your toll, and you'll have 15 days to pay.
3. What happens if you don't pay?
"You're going to get another bill with a $5 admin fee added. [If you] still don't pay, you are in violation with a $25 violation fee. Third month, a $30 collection fee is added," Peterson said.
An $8 bill can soar to almost $70 in three months if you ignore the notices, and you won't be able to renew your Kentucky or Indiana vehicle registration.
4. E-ZPass instead?
Should you go E-Z instead?
Drivers have the option to buy a larger, moveable E-ZPass transponder for $15. You can move the E-ZPass transponder among all the vehicles registered to your account, making it easier to reach the frequent driver status that requires 40 crossings per month. The RiverLink transponder is a sticker that can not be moved from car to car.
The E-ZPass transponder will also allow you to pay discounted rates in other states, but it does not work with Florida's tolling system.
5. When will tolls start?
The last thing you need to know: When will tolls start?
"We're not ready to give a start date because we have a brand new system we are testing. After we clear all those hurdles, we'll be able to say this is when tolling is going to start, but I don't want drivers to think it's not going to happen. I fully expect tolling to start in December," Peterson told WDRB.
RiverLink does not charge fees to set up or maintain an account. Money simply sits in your account until you use it to pay for tolls.
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