Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue

 

Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation

 

Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 2nd Meeting

of the 2017 Interim

 

<MeetMDY1> September 28, 2017

 

Call to Order and Roll Call

The<MeetNo2> second meeting of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue was held on<Day> Thursday,<MeetMDY2> September 28, 2017, at<MeetTime> 10:00 AM, in<Room> Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Sal Santoro, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.

 

Present were:

 

Members:<Members> Senator Max Wise, Co-Chair; Representative Sal Santoro, Co-Chair; Senators Ernie Harris and Jimmy Higdon; Representatives Ken Fleming, Chris Harris, Kenny Imes, Marie Rader, and Jim Stewart III.

 

Guests: †Megan McLain, Innovative Finance Manager, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC).

 

LRC Staff:† Justin Perry and Christina Williams.

 

Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges: Tolling System Update

Megan McLain, Innovative Finance Manager, KYTC, gave an update on the RiverLink tolling system that is being utilized on the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges (LSIORB) project.

 

In response to a question from Chair Santoro, Ms. McLain stated if a customer feels they have been billed in error and that they did not cross the bridge, they should contact RiverLink. RiverLink will then pull up camera footage to see if an error was in fact made, and if so, the appropriate steps will be taken to correct it.

 

In response to a question from Representative Fleming, Ms. McLain stated the volume of traffic crossing the bridges is higher than expected and the revenue collected is also slightly higher. It is projected that there will be approximately $110 million in tolls collected in fiscal year 2018, half of which are due to Indiana and half to Kentucky.

 

In response to questions from Representative Stewart, Ms. McLain said a citizen should not receive a bill unless they have crossed the bridge. If a person were to come into the county clerkís office to pay their registration and then discover there was a hold on it due to non-payment of tolls and fines, the person would then call RiverLink. RiverLink would then give them the option to pay immediately over the phone using a checking account number or a credit or debit card. Once that payment is made, the hold will be lifted and the citizen will be able to resume obtaining their registration.

 

In response to a question from Senator Wise, Ms. McLain stated the first invoice is generally mailed approximately fifteen days after the crossing of the bridge, unless the customer is from out-of-state, in which case it could take longer. She added that the customer will only be billed for more than $5.00, therefore, if the toll is less, a bill will be sent after they cross the bridge again when the total would exceed the $5.00 minimum.

 

In response to a question from Representative Imes, Ms. McLain said Indiana is also withholding renewals of vehicle registrations for nonpayment of tolls and fines. Customers who are coming from somewhere other than Kentucky or Indiana, there is no such agreement; however, there are plans to begin negotiations for reciprocal video toll enforcement. She stated there are four states in the country that have an agreement like this in place and they are being used as a model. Those four states have an agreement that failure to pay a toll will be treated the same, whether the citizen is from that state or the other participating states. KYTC has statutory authority to enter in such agreements with other states.†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

 

In response to a question from Representative Fleming, Ms. McLain said that the data that is being collected in order to bill tolls is not being currently shared for use in economic studies. The information is available, and there is an expectation that a datamart will be created which will make available every field from the entire customer service software to other states so that queries may be run directly without having to go through the vendor. That information will not be shared with the public, but will be for state use only. †Data that is being collected consists of the customerís name, address, make, model, and year of their vehicle, number of transactions that person has made, and their license plate number.

 

In response to a question from Representative Harris, Ms. McLain said there is no agreement with other states to enforce Kentuckyís tolls by placing a hold on vehicle registrations, with the exception of Indiana. Kentucky is a member of the
E-Z Pass group, which is a group of toll agencies that issue transponders to customers. For example, if Chicago issues a transponder to a customer who then crosses the RiverLink toll bridges, Chicago will take money out of that customerís account to send it to RiverLink. There is no agreement in place where other states can take enforcement action against their citizens on behalf of Kentucky for non-payment of tolls.

 

In response to questions from Senator Higdon, Ms. McLain said Kentucky is sharing the toll money with Indiana. The vendor that collects the tolls receives a flat monthly fee for operations and maintenance of the toll system, which also includes certain pass-through costs like rent for the customer service centers in Kentucky and Indiana. In fiscal year 2018, it is anticipated that approximately $12 million will be spent on the functioning of the toll system as well as for roadway operations and maintenance, which will also come out of toll revenue. There was approximately a one percent increase in traffic due to the total solar eclipse, as well as an increase in traffic due to the basketball championship that took place in Indianapolis.

 

In response to a question from Representative Imes, Ms. McLain stated there are no plans for the state-to-state enforcement to include speeding, only enforcement of tolls.

 

In response to a request by Chair Santoro, Ms. McLain stated she would provide information as to how many people have received late notices thus far, as well as how many out-of-state payments have been made.

 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:35 AM.