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Southern Indiana businesses brace for record toll increases on Ohio River bridges

Effective July 1, RiverLink tolls will shoot up more than 8 percent. Small business employees say they're working to consolidate trips back and forth to save costs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Yet another cost is set to rise more than usual: The fees drivers pay to use any of the three Ohio River Bridges, connecting the greater Louisville area to Southern Indiana.

It's normal for rates on these bridges to rise annually, since tolling began six years ago to incrementally pay off the federal project that made them possible.

But it's the size of this latest hike, the highest on record for these bridges, that has led to confusion and frustration among the community as it deals with skyrocketing gas prices.

"Well it's just not fun seeing it just disappear and disappear out of your account just to keep moving," said Tamara Scantland, who works at Sapphire on Spring Boutique in Jeffersonville, Indiana. 

Effective July 1, RiverLink tolls will shoot up more than eight percent. For drivers with transponders, rates will now range anywhere from $2.40 to $14.38.

Rates always go up each summer, by either 2.5 percent or by the rate of inflation if it's the higher figure. In 2022, there's no competition.

It's left people who travel back and forth for work with yet another hurdle to overcome.

Some small businesses like Kratz Sporting Goods, Inc. in Clarksville say they're working to consolidate pickups and drop-offs to fewer trips -- while also trying to make things as easy as possible for customers.

"Hit one, two, three, four different places at one time when we're going over," said store vice president Allen Krebs, who told WHAS 11 his workers often make at least four to five trips across the Ohio River each week.

Scantland said she crosses over several times a week, not just for shifts at the Boutique, but also to dog-sit and participate in art shows in Louisville.

"I need to think about it more [now]," she said.

Many in the community have asked: Can anything be done to lessen this burden?

A Kentucky board, including state Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) Secretary Jim Gray passed a resolution last week calling for the Kentucky-Indiana Tolling Body to set the increase at 2.5 percent. 

But in an update Tuesday, KYTC said Indiana declined to join that request for a meeting, likely meaning the record toll hike will be implemented starting in just a few short weeks.

Contact reporter Isaiah Kim-Martinez at IKimMartin@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter

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