LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Kentucky and Indiana officials will seek a new contract for RiverLink’s toll collection work and customer service centers, a move that targets the tolling system’s areas of longstanding concern.
At a virtual meeting Tuesday, the Kentucky-Indiana Joint Board authorized the Indiana Finance Authority to create a request for proposals for services that are now part of the main toll operations contract.
The maneuver means that the states could develop new standards for the toll system’s “back office” work: the behind-the-scenes, daily task of reading license plates, ensuring drivers are billed properly and complaints handled swiftly.
It also raises the possibility that officials may eye a call center — and its jobs — closer to Louisville and southern Indiana. The work now is done in Texas and central Indiana, but there have been previous efforts to move the call center to Kentuckiana.
Municipal Services Bureau, the Austin, Texas-based subcontractor of toll system operator Kapsch TrafficCom, has repeatedly come under scrutiny since tolling began in early 2017 for long wait times and inaccurate bills. Faulty RiverLink invoices are the subject of a potential class action lawsuit in Indiana.
Kapsch is in charge of the “roadside” part of RiverLink that includes the toll gantries and technology that captures license plate images and scans transponders for the high-speed, all-electronic system.
There was no timeline given for when a new RFP would be issued or a new contract approved. But Megan McLain, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s innovative finance manager, said it should be in place by late 2023, around the same time Kapsch’s contract expires.
The joint board is the main decision-making body for RiverLink, the electronic toll system between Louisville and Clark County, Indiana, and overseen by Kentucky and Indiana state governments. Its members are Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray; Deputy Finance Secretary Winston Miller; Indiana Public Finance Director Dan Huge; and Indiana Transportation Commissioner Joe McGuinness.
The was no discussion of the impact of COVID-19 on the toll system at Tuesday’s meeting, the board’s first since the pandemic started.
With traffic declines caused by stay-at-home orders and other repercussions, RiverLink will be challenged to meet its revenue goals for the first time since opening in early 2017.
A consultant had predicted about $108.4 million in toll collections during the current fiscal year that ends in June, but with two months left, revenues stand at $88.6 million.
This story may be updated.