LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky and Indiana transportation officials have begun fulfilling a promise to allow people to get transponders for the RiverLink toll bridges in gas stations and other retailers in the Louisville area.   

More than 380 Speedway stores in the two states started carrying RiverLink “starter kits,” which include transponders and reloadable cards, over the past several weeks, said Mindy Peterson, spokeswoman for the toll network.

The kits are similar to gift cards, letting drivers prepay $20 to $500 for future tolls. Drivers must pay a one-time $3 fee to get a transponder and $1.50 to add more money when those funds run low.

Unlike other RiverLink accounts, the prepaid transponders provide an option for people who don’t want to provide personal data or manage their accounts online.

“You don’t have to register your vehicle information. You don’t have to register your personal information,” Peterson said. “You do have to keep track of your balance. It’s only good for as much money as you put on it.”

The transponders work only on the three RiverLink bridges and allow drivers to get the lowest toll rate -- $2 to cross the Interstate 65 Kennedy and Lincoln bridges downtown and the Lewis and Clark Bridge upriver.

If drivers deplete their funds and don’t add more, they will be charged the $4 rate that applies to people without RiverLink accounts or transponders. Those bills will be mailed.

The states agreed on a retail effort in spring 2015 as part of a plan meant to ease the burden of Ohio River bridge tolls on low-income drivers and minority communities. But officials failed to implement it before tolls began late last year.

A formal announcement is expected as early as this week. Other retailers could also start carrying the kits “fairly soon,” Peterson said.

“Other conversations are continuing,” she said. “So we anticipate having other retailers join us.”

Reach reporter Marcus Green at 502-585-0825, mgreen@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2017 WDRB News. All rights reserved.