Letter: Kentucky bridge tolls taking their toll

From: Noel Taylor


Indiana’s nearest neighbor to the south has demonstrated a new revenue source: late fees. Here’s how it’s working so far.

Friends of mine here in town went to Florida in December and came back in March. Their first and only bill from the bridge toll people in Louisville, Kentucky, came May 9. It included a fee of $4 per crossing, plus a $5 late fee, and was marked “Second Billing.” Of course, we all know that the United States Postal Service doesn’t lose mail, so the apparent rationale here is that the toll camera didn’t obtain a clear plate number in December, but that the December photo was matched with a better photo when they came back through in March. It seems that it doesn’t matter that my friends weren’t billed for December until now. Their payment is late, so they must pay the late fee.

I don’t go to Kentucky, but I got curious and looked up the fee structure for the bridge toll. I learned that there is a 50 percent lower fee for those who have Indiana’s E-ZPass transponder, so I looked that up, too. It’s “only” $25 to have one, but also costs a $1 per month “account maintenance fee” whether the transponder is used or not. Even better is that to obtain the transponder, one must sign an agreement that obligates one to pay any additional unspecified fees charged regardless of reason.

I also found a link to a website that features a photo of a well-dressed young man delivering a karate kick at a traffic camera. The website sells a flash-reflecting spray that blinds many traffic cameras when applied to one’s license plate, and a license plate cover that incorporates a thin diffusion lens that makes it difficult to read one’s plate except when directly behind the vehicle and on the same level with it. Those products cost $50 each, not including fines that can occur if one drives in a state that prohibits such devices.

Considering human nature, though, my guess is that overall this company is delighted by all the new business that Kentucky has sent its way since the bridge tolls went into effect. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that northern Kentucky tourism dollars have dropped off as well. Such is life in this brave new world.