LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The high-tech RiverLink toll system relies on a low-tech way to collect from drivers without a transponder: the U.S. Mail.

But some drivers have yet to receive invoices for crossing one of the three Ohio River spans – the Interstate 65 Lincoln and Kennedy bridges and the upriver Lewis and Clark Bridge -- despite making trips shortly after tolls began December 30.

The bills are being mailed in “small batches” in an effort not to overload the RiverLink call center in Texas, said Megan McLain, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s assistant general counsel.

“We’re slowing down that process intentionally to make sure that one, the bills are accurate, and two, that we send them out piecemeal so that we don’t overwhelm our call center with people trying to be honest and pay their bills,” she said in an interview this month.

The lowest toll rates -- $2 per crossing in a passenger car -- are tied to pre-paid transponders that are read by scanners mounted above the bridges, while the highest rates are for vehicles without a RiverLInk account. In those cases, cameras identify vehicles based on their license plates, and the owner is billed by mail.

McLain said drivers who have not gotten a bill six weeks after making a crossing are encouraged to call RiverLink and ask about it. There is no requirement that an invoice be mailed by a certain date after a camera registers a vehicle’s license plate, she said.

Collecting tolls, including those sought by mail, is essential to Kentucky and Indiana’s ability to pay off debt on the $2.3 billion Ohio River Bridges Project.

A consultant hired by the states expects that about 7 percent of tolls assessed this year won’t be collected – as drivers’ refuse to pay or photos don’t clearly reveal a license plate, for example -- before leveling off at about 2.5 percent by 2029.

By law, Kentucky and Indiana can withhold a driver’s registration renewal if tolls aren’t paid. The states also may ask collection agencies to pursue delinquent bills and may sign reciprocal enforcement agreements with other states.

Kentucky and Indiana have ultimate oversight of RiverLink, the name given to the toll-bridge system. They hired Austria-based Kapsch TrafficCom and a subcontractor in Austin, Texas to operate the toll system and collect from drivers.

The first invoices were sent out on January 30, according to a report Kapsch submitted to the states.


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