FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority (KPTIA) has been approved for membership in E-ZPass Group, which operates a common electronic toll payment program in 15 other states.
With an E-ZPass transponder, tolls can automatically be paid on any toll road or bridge operated by any member agency of the E-ZPass Group. KPTIA joined for the benefit of future users of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges project. KPTIA is financing the Downtown Crossing portion of the project – a new bridge to carry Interstate 65 northbound traffic between Louisville and Jeffersonville, Indiana, and conversion of the existing I-65 John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge to carry southbound traffic.
Indiana is building the other half of the project – the East End Crossing between Prospect, Kentucky, and Utica, Indiana. Toll revenue will help finance all three crossings, and an E-ZPass transponder can be used for all three.
Tolling of the bridges will commence in late 2016 and will be all-electronic – no toll plazas, no coin buckets and no waiting in line.
“Electronic toll collection is the most cost-effective system available to motorists for paying for the use of tolled highways and bridges,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock, who also is KPTIA chairman. “All E-ZPass toll facilities offer transponders that are interoperable – meaning that a single transponder will work for any and all E-ZPass systems.”
With all-electronic tolling, traffic flows freely, unimpeded, through tolling points. Vehicles passing through tolling gantries are monitored in two ways: onboard electronic transponders that send signals to monitors and video cameras that record license plates from overhead gantries.
The lowest rates will be charged to motorists using a transponder, which allows for tolls to be automatically debited from an established account. Higher rates – because of higher administrative costs – will be charged for motorists who must be tracked by video camera identification of their license plates.
E-ZPass Group has 26 member agencies in 15 states, including five of the seven states bordering Kentucky: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia. Toll roads in those states include the Illinois Tollway system, West Virginia Turnpike, Ohio Turnpike, Indiana Toll Road, and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
An E-ZPass transponder, which will cost about $15, is one of two transponder options for future users of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges. The other option is a decal-sticker “local” transponder that can be obtained at no cost but will work only on the local crossings.