Imagine you are driving north on I-65 and mistakenly take Exit 74-B onto Old Hickory Boulevard instead of Exit 74-A.
You immediately realize your error so you turn around at the next traffic light and drive back over the I-65 bridge on Old Hickory. You’re a little annoyed at yourself for making a wrong turn but you get over it when you arrive at your destination a few minutes later.
Now imagine getting a bill in the mail the next week from the city of Nashville for $8.20 as a fine for crossing the Old Hickory Blvd twice within a span of three minutes.
And the bill contains two grainy photos: one of your car crossing the bridge and the other a close-up of your license plate. You’re busted! You crossed a toll bridge not just once but, God forbid, twice.
Welcome to Louisville, thanks for your money
Well, if you’ve visited or driven through Louisville, Kentucky there is a good chance you received your tourist tax notice in the mail because there is a good chance that you unknowingly crossed a toll bridge while getting confused in the area of looping roadways known to Louisville locals as Spaghetti Junction.
The notice in the mail will come to you, courtesy of Riverlink, which is a shorter name than “Ha! Ha! Kentucky and Indiana Gotcha Crossing the Ohio River.” Riverlink is the electronic system being used to collect tolls each time you cross any one of three bridges connecting metro Louisville to southern Indiana: the Abraham Lincoln Bridge, the John F. Kennedy Bridge, and the Lewis and Clark Bridge.
A new fundraising idea
It’s estimated by Riverlink that 110,000 drivers use one of three toll bridges on a daily basis. I wasn’t a math major in college, but that’s got to add up to some serious revenue.
Note to small towns who use speed traps to generate needed revenue: You may want to consider installing a few toll bridges as the only means of crossing the city limits going and coming. If your town doesn’t have a river then a koi pond or a dry creek bed will suffice.
My favorite part of the $8.20 bill I received as a Thank-You note for visiting Louisville was the line at the bottom of the invoice which says in bold print (and I’m not making this up) “Do NOT pay more than the amount due.” Is that a recurring problem that Riverlink and the City of Louisville has —people paying more than the bill amount?
Do people look at a bill for $8.20 and say, “Oh heck, I’ll just round it off to 10 bucks. Keep the change.”
I took a yellow marker and highlighted that helpful reminder not to donate extra funds and wrote next to it, “Well dang, I was going to add a $5 tip until I saw your warning,” and enclosed the slip with my check.
On that fateful day in July I spent less time on the Lincoln Bridge than Secretariat spent on the track at Churchill Downs, but I’ll always remember the costly running of my own Kentucky Derby on a horse named Toyota.
Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him at
firstname.lastname@example.org. To read Presson’s previous columns go to