The River Link Scam: Louisville’s theft of the innocent through a toll bridge to depraved economic activity in Clarksville

What a scam I ran into in Louisville Kentucky! It was a few weeks before Christmas and my family was going south to celebrate early. This year my kids were going with their grandparents and cousins to a dinner theater over in Clarksville which was across the river from Louisville and just upstream from the Falls of the Ohio. My wife and I were going to watch their kids while my kids went to the show. So we dropped off everyone, kept the kids, then went back across the river to keep the little ones busy so their parents could enjoy the show. As we approached the 1-65 bridge over into Clarksville we saw signs indicating that it was a toll bridge, but I never saw a booth for collection, so we figured being out-of-town that the toll had expired some time in the past and that the local government hadn’t taken down the signs. That’s the way it’s worked in other places in the country, so we just went about our way doing our business and figured the issue was over. 6 weeks later, on the night of the government shut-down ironically, we received this letter in the mail from some loser outfit called River Link saying that we owed $16 for our use of that bridge that day which I thought was astounding. They sent an invoice with a picture of our car on it and our license plate demanding payment and my first thought was—where were the pricing indications so I could have made a decision? If I had known the price, I would have found another way across the river. But it was clear that this River Link organization with the politicians behind them meant to use that bridge as a revenue trap—and that their information postings were deliberately vague, because they wanted nice families like mine to do just as we did—and pay for the mismanagement of Louisville’s resources with a bunch of lazy losers who let intrusive street cameras do the work of toll collecting to satisfy their inflated budgets and scandalous activity politically over the years.

My wife wanted to just pay the fee, and I imagine that there are many thousands, if not millions of people just like her who are willing to say “it’s only $16 dollars, let’s just pay it.” But I told her that we should shit in the envelope and send that to those bastards because what they did was deliberately deceitful and a practice which tells a story about our greater needs as a nation as we debate how to fund all our infrastructure projects. This River Link organization and the toll on that bridge is only a few years old as of this year of 2018—so it’s a very new thing this idea of a toll booth free collection racket. I suppose from their point of view its better than backing up traffic on a bridge, so the local government can pay for it. Such contemplations have been going on in Cincinnati where there is a tremendous need for a new bridge serving I-75 going from Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky—and a toll has been one proposal for funding it. But the problem of stopping traffic to collect the toll is not attractive because of the volume of traffic that goes through that region. It was essentially the same situation in Louisville, the main artery north out of the city is the I-64/I-65 bridge. The bridge looked nice, but I was surprised how few people were using it—now I understand why.

While we were waiting for our kids to finish their show we had a lot of time to kill. We were getting hungry but didn’t want to miss the pick-up time so my wife and I drove around Clarksville to grab a bite to eat, and I was pretty shocked at how run down and swanky everything was. I could see downtown Louisville literally just a mile or so away yet there was nothing in Clarksville worth doing. We found a Hardees restaurant—which was the only place off the highway to eat for several miles and it was in such bad shape that we passed. For me that’s a big deal because I never remember passing on a good hamburger. The condition of the building and the look of the people inside sent enough alarm bells that we drove away hungry and happy to avoid the experience—and no the workers were not black. They looked like toothless Appalachians that had the sanitation of a dirty diaper. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why several exits of a nice highway that is the main artery out of the city of Louisville didn’t have more to offer consumers. I mean wasn’t there a lunch crowd and dinner rush that would leave the city for a break? After I received the invoice from River Link I understood what the locals already knew. The toll to go across the bridge and come back into the city was too great—it would exceed the cost of lunch—so nobody was using the bridge or buying food in Clarksville—which is why there were so many undeveloped storefronts everywhere we drove.

When I picked up my kids we all had a laugh at what a dump the dinner theater was. It was pretty nice inside but on the outside, it looked like the whole building was about to fall over. Across the street was a campground that had a bunch of hippie losers sitting around a fire in the dead of winter so I had to ask if this was Louisville’s idea of “social life.” My wife’s parents live in a million-dollar home on the east side in Oldham County where a lot of horse breeders live. My past impression of Louisville was cast by that part of town, I don’t typically get to see the results of all the liberalism that has destroyed the inner loop of the I-264 band around the downtown area. But it was obvious going across the river and looking south back into the city and the results of the surrounding communities like Clarksville what had happened to them—liberalism had destroyed their opportunities and robbed them of a future. The hippies outside of the dinner theater where just one result—those people were reserved to give up on life and sit by the fire making smores on a Saturday afternoon ahead of Christmas—and that was all that was going on in Clarksville. My wife and I drove down to the river and along it and noticed several developments that had been attempted, but were left unfinished, likely because the toll bridge had destroyed their opportunities for profit. We drove down to the Falls, and there was still nothing, just a bunch of empty opportunities—an economy in decline.

To us, my wife and I, $16 is a typical tip for a dinner—but I remember very well when it was like a million dollars to us. On principle, I consider that toll to be a major rip off in Louisville. As I told my wife not to pay the fee I was certain that the issue could be fought in court and that my state did not have an agreement with Kentucky to collect such horrendous abuses of authority. Indiana and Kentucky have such agreements with each other, but Ohio does not as of yet. Fighting that in court however would cost more money than the stupid fee and that’s what these liberal toll collectors are counting on, nice people like us to just pay the fine and go about our business while they mismanage the undisclosed tax under the guise of “paying for a bridge.” What did they do with all their federal and state dollars which should have built that bridge without a toll? They wasted it is what they did. Louisville is a liberal city ran by liberal losers and those types of people are always starving for money—because they lack discipline and a basic understanding of value. To a liberal empathy is a value. To a conservative—its an emotion. Emotions don’t pay bills, value does. This toll across Louisville’s main bridge over into Indiana is a theft of value to fund those who don’t have it. It’s that simple. Clarksville is the proof and as long that toll bridge is in place—they’ll get more and more of the depraved conditions for which I have described.

Rich Hoffman
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34 thoughts on “The River Link Scam: Louisville’s theft of the innocent through a toll bridge to depraved economic activity in Clarksville

    1. Yeah, and that’s how scams like River Link sell their deal–because people just pay it rather than do anything about it. Add this to the increases in property taxes and every other little levy and soon people wonder where all their money went. Only when its too late do they start paying attention.


    2. I agree with most thing that are said. However you did state that “liberals” had something to do with the tow bridge. It’s a fact that everyone in both states that signed off on the agreement were elected republicans. That should be apparent by the fact that river link is a private company.


    3. I was charged $70 when my GPS accidentally took us over the bridge when trying to get to a concert venue. I had to turn around and come right back over. We never received an invoice from RiverLink…until 6 months after we used the bridge. I am from Nevada, and we are not charged to drive on streets there, so I never thought anything about my trip to Louisville. They tacked on all kinds of fees and such and were not at all understanding when we called to explain that this was the first invoice…how could we have late fees on a first invoice. Needless to say, I will never go to Louisville again. They got my $70, and that’s it.


      1. That’s exactly the problem, visitors like you guys traveling in from different states, you wouldn’t know the rules. Most people aren’t looking at the signs, they are looking at what a new city looks like. Then to get a bill out of the thin blue air like that is just terrible. Short sighted thinking on behalf of Louisville to allow this scam to continue on.


  1. You couldn’t be more wrong about anything that you’ve said. The toll bridge, even thought everyone hates paying it, is allowing out community to grow. The area that you were in was Jeffersonville/Old Clarksville. The area was in decline 15 to 20 yeara before the bridge till was created. Had you ventured a 1 to 2 miles to your east in Jeffersonville, you would have found thriving new small businesses and new eateries, and clubs, with tons of culture and diversity. The dinner theater you referred to is an old raggity place that is more than 30 years old and has survived various economic declines and dying industry around it. Millions of dollars are now being funneled into this area to help revive and rejuninate the crippled community. A new route is currently being developed along the river to conext Jeffersonville, Old Clarksville, and New Albany.. which will future connect the communities and allow more opportunities to its residents. Please, next time you place a negative lense on an area and it’s people, spend a little more time than a few hours there before judging. Blaming everything on liberalism shows just how closed minded you are. Indiana is one of the most Red states in the US, Southern Indiana is no exception. You were wrong about so many things in your article, however, you were right about one thing, the tolls do suck and River Link is a racket, but it’s keeping Southern Indiana people from patronizing Louisville business with their hard earned money, and spending it in their own communities instead.


    1. RiverLink is more than a racket. It’s a downright scam. Let me give you a little summary.

      I recently received a bill from RiverLink for 2 toll violations dated 5/24/2018 and 5/27/2018. There are several problems.

      1. The vehicle in the photos does not belong to me, nor was I ever driving it. (took me all of 5 minutes to find the actual owner thanks to advertising written on the vehicle)
      2. The vehicle is registered in Wisconsin. I live in Illinois and can’t register vehicles in Wisconsin. I’m not aware of any state (except Maine) that allows out of state owners to register vehicles in that state. This should have been another red flag for RiverLink. More importantly, how could they possibly connect me to such a vehicle? Was it random? Don’t they cross reference DMV records?
      3. I was not in Kentucky, Ohio, or Indiana on those dates.

      This is the most egregious overarching abuse of authority I have ever been a part of. The government officials who selected or created this system should feel truly embarrassed.

      I will avoid any area serviced by them as I suspect will anybody else negatively affected. This is not going to help the tourism or reputation of your area.


    2. BS. It was a Democrat governor and transportation cabinet member that created this debacle. The riverlink is a sham and a shame…a stain on Louisville.


    3. are you SERIOUS? i ONLY went across the bridge to go to work to feed my family!!!!!!!! yes i know that i owe them money and i was paying them what i could but then the charges got bigger and BIGGER! i was charged a total of $170 in fines just to send me a BILL!!!!!! now they have a lean on my car because i can not afford to pay them $511.40 that i KNOW I DO NOT OWE! THEY HAVE SENT ME OTHER PEOPLES BILLS AND HAVE CHARGED ME WHEN I WAS HOME AND NEVER WENT ACROSS THE BRIDGE!!!!!! not only that but i find out that you not only get charged when you go across the bridge but if you take exit 0 you are charged TWICE BECAUSE RIVER LINK “SAY’S” THAT IS ANOTHER BRIDGE!!!!!! HOW IS THE HELL IS AND EXIT A BRIDGE????? now i am screwed because i can not get tags on my car because they out a lean on it, and when i called to ask to make payments they said quote “MUST BE PAID IN FULL” then when i called a few months later i was told that i could have been making payment’s and when i asked why the other person said that i could not make payments she said IT IS NOT THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO LET US KNOW THAT! IF WE DON’T ASK THEY DON’T TELL. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I WAS TOLD BY THE SUPERVISOR!!! THIS IS WRONG!!!!! PEOPLE LIKE ME THAT WORK PAY CHECK TO PAY CHECK AND DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE PAY THE BILLS TAKE CARE OF THEIR KIDS SHOULD NOT BE DONE THIS WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this bridge was paid off a long time ago and we SHOULD NOT HAVE TO KEEP PAYING TO CROSS IT! AND THEN YOU GET CHARGED NOT ONCE BUT TWICE BECAUSE YOU TAKE EXIT 0????? THIS NEEDS TO BE DEALT WITH AND FAST! NOW I HAVE TO DRIVE ILLEGAL UNTIL I CAN PAY OFF RIVER LINK SO I CAN GET TAGS ON THE CAR I WORKED SO HARD FOR AND IS PAID OFF JUST TO GET TAGS AND INSURANCE!!!!!!!!




    5. Thank you Dustin! I was about to leave a similar comment. The tolls are a pain, but there are huge signs on either side of the river explaining the cost, both with sticker and without. There are signs indicating where the last exit before the toll is so you can avoid it, and there’s an alternative bridge right next to it without tolls. I’m not sure what area the op is describing as run down, but I used to work in Clarksville, and I currently work in Jeffersonville. Both cities have thriving economies. There is a huge Walmart in Clarksville that was recently remodeled and a nice size Target, surrounded by several shops and many restaurants. Jeffersonville has a whole historic tourist area and lots of local shops along the river. The area is surrounded by small farm towns, though I don’t know about those being run down. The attempt to make a connection to liberalism makes no sense because Southern Indiana is very conservative. OP should do more research next time.


  2. Also from jeffersonville. The above poster speaking about the area is quite correct. Jeff is actually on an upswing. I moved here 16 years ago from Louisville (born and raised). although there are a lot of areas I like in Louisville, you can’t get near the river over there without looking over your shoulder. And forget about living near the river unless you are in the extreme east end, Louisville has a huge crime problem downtown, especially around the river. In Jeff, I’ve never been afraid to walk downtown at any hour of the night and I’ve never had any real issues. If you like to live near the river, Jeff is far better than Louisville. Spend more time around Louisville’s riverfront and you would see that.

    If you are referring to the Hardee’s in Jeff right off the bridge, that whole area sucks but I blame that more on the losers coming off the expressway. Jeff is not like that as a whole. Anywhere around any exit are places I don’t care for.

    You’re right about Louisville and their democratic mayor. You practically need a 4×4 to drive downtown, the roads are full of potholes. In addition, they can’t seem to get any particular project done, they keep tearing up more roads without finishing what they started first.

    My wife and I got a damn good laugh reading your blog, very entertaining. We took no offense, you saw the worst and wrote about the worst.

    We dislike riverlink as much as you do. If Obama would have really spent that infrastructure money on real projects instead of solar pipe dreams, we wouldn’t have stuff like this.

    All the best.


  3. The other shady part of the equation is River Link is an Austrian company. Again, a privately owned business capitalizing on the misfortune of American folks. If you live in Kentucky and have to find a job in Indiana because there isn’t anything available locally, your penalized for it. Or if you are traveling from several states away and have never heard of it, they should just put up a big damn sign that says,” GOTCHA”!!! Money going overseas, money going into Government coffers and it’s again the little guy that’s got to pay.


    1. So, was the bridge funded by this company for the right to charge users? And if so, didn’t they pay for it by now? 4 1/2 years later. I read that just in 2018, they make over $100 million from out of stater! They claim an average of $500 K a day for its use! What did they finance over and above this mass transfer of wealth? Seems like a racket for sure. Not as bad as what Scoot walker did to Wisconsin with FOXCON though. They aren’t living up to much at all yet, and still getting an unfathomed amt of our taxes that will never come back. And our new governor isn’t doing shit about it. Lastly, does anyone know if River Link can fuck with our registrations here in Wisconsin? I only own $8, but fuck them.


  4. I agree with your assessment of the toll, however you’re one arrogant prick!!! I’m glad you took the time to avoid being labled a racist by noting “they werent black” while making jokes about poor people and hillbillies.


  5. I believe that Rich has hit the nail right on the
    head !
    Let’s all get together and file a class action lawsuit against Riverlink and the states of Indiana and Kentucky. Where is our gas tax money going to???
    Where is the money going that the federal government is providing to maintain the interstate highways & bridges ?
    All of those that are rather NAIVE need to understand . THE MORE MONEY YOU GIVE , THE MORE MONEY THEY WANT AND TAKE !!!!
    Since when does a privately run company have access to vehicle registration information ?
    Do I have access to your vehicle registration information . NO
    Providing this information to privately run companies and individuals puts all of us at risk !!! The sex offenders , stalkers and other criminally insane people will have a field day everyday !!!
    Better lock up your wife & kids indoors to keep them safe !!!!
    Let’s start a revolution & go after the big criminals.


    1. After the State raided the Kentucky Retirement System for decades, they’re finally realizing the damage of their actions. They’re now likely trying to milk every penny they can so they can somehow try to deal with their $70+ billion unfunded pension and health care liability. Tough times coming for Kentuckians.


  6. What I think is also a total scam by this company, if your one of the fortunate ones to have set up an account with them, then they auto-replenish the account with a credit card provided at time of account establishment; however, the statements they send make one’s positive balance from the replenishment look like bills. They conveniently add a payment envelope in with the statement. While it’s obvious that people should keep up with the agreements they set in place, and how their accounts are billed, this type of shady buisness practice takes advantage of those who aren’t paying attention and preys on elderly who aren’t what they use to be. After my mother passed away, it was like pulling teeth trying to get them to close the account and return the positive balance on her account in the form of a check to the estate of my mother. Just what someone needs at the time of losing a loved one. Shame on this company.


    1. I unfortunately had not read this entire blog until after I left my comment, as I would have wanted to rephrase what I said, or not posted at all. Actually, I probably should have checked out more of what Overman Warrior was about, since I just stumbled upon this page while searching Riverlink. Anyway, don’t want to criticize you on your own blog, but I will say that your point of Riverlink being a scam may carry more weight if you don’t turn others off by speaking so poorly of others; aren’t so negative throughout the post, as it tends to water down your point of Riverlink being a scam when you seem negative about everything; and if you hold back on any attempt of boasting of east end Louisville roots when complaining of a $8 bridge toll (the fee when a Riverlink account has not been established). I do agree, however, $8 per automobile crossing is exorbitant fee and it’s 4x higher than those who have Riverlink accounts. Almost everywhere in the country that uses toll-by-plate charges the amount of the toll, not some inflated fee like Riverlink. All I-65 travelers beware, yet they won’t get the message until they receive the bill–gives Louisville a bad name. Riverlink uses shady buisness practices–wish you would have left the opinion to the focus of your topic.


  7. Me and my son came through at night and never noticed the sign we were going to the indy 500.then when we came back it was at night so didn’t see the sign again..but received the bill in the mail about a month later.It is a racket just like the street light cams we had here till they done away with them ..


  8. We recieved our 2nd toll notice today. We never recieved the first notice. Of course there was a 5.00 late fee added too the notice. We were traveling from the Gulfcoast too Indiana. Never saw a toll booth.
    After reading comments we now know that the toll booth does not exist. We travel alot however will never travel into Louisville again. Sitting here feeling cheated and Scammed. Never Again!!


  9. Allow me if I may, to explain why, and to provide sources of information deducing to this conclusion, my beliefs that such is in fact an unconstitutional act….

    But before getting started, one thing that I think we will both at least both agree on, is that our Government has been wrong in the past, and they are not by any means infallible concerning the law. For this very reason, our forefathers ensured the People’s right and authority to challenge our Government concerning such matters would be preserved. Lastly, a person does not have to agree with a specific ideology in order for that ideology to be accurate. You may disagree with this, but that does not mean that I am wrong… it only means that I need to find an attorney that is willing to take my money and allow me as a person to take the risk of being a fool soon to be parted with his money in order to challenge these things. While I do admire and respect your stance and integrity on this matter, perhaps I am in an unfortunate situation where I may need the assistance of an attorney with less integrity and more favor of simply making money?

    I have been doing some research myself, and as it turns out; there are indeed several cases across the Country where various Judges, both at the State level and the State Supreme Court level, have factually ruled road tolls to be unconstitutional taxes placed upon the American people. Now, not all of these Judges agreed on the reasons bringing them to this decision, and oftentimes that even disagreed with the various viewpoints regarding this decision, but it needs to be noted nonetheless, that their final decisions were in fact, all conclusively the same!

    One common denominator among all of these Judges however, was also a very crucial factor which actually DOES FORCE the taking into consideration of a very important aspect of law regarding taxes, tolls, fees, and other types of fines…. (I think you’re going to LOVE this one *seriously*)… Tolls have been legally declared to be considered a tax, this is a no-brainer. But the key here is that No Privately owned company can legally impose a tax upon a private citizen!!! Whether we want to admit this to be the legal loophole or not, the law is the law, Greg.

    These rulings were specifically passed down because these Judges have declared that no privately owned company had legal Constitutional authority to instill taxes on private citizens. – Which is specifically addressed in the United States Articles of Confederation; in which it is described that upon agreeing to enter into the newly formed Union, each State had willingly surrendered certain inherent rights of authority over to the control of the Federal Government. Highways being one of those areas of control.

    Just one example is in Virginia when Judge James A. Cales Jr. set a ruling that ONLY the State — and not private companies — can set taxes,or institute fines for public motorists on federally controlled roadways. I think you will find it interesting that RiverLink, the company whom my toll is owed, is in fact a privately owned Company. Sure, they may be contracted by the State, but that in and of itself does not make the contract legal.

    As strong of an argument as that may be; I still wanted to reconsider the Articles of Confederation rights which explicitly acknowledge the right of the people free ingress and egress to and from each State within the Union. <— And that is the key which, whether we agree or not, makes interstate tolls Unconstitutional.


    "The right of a citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon in the ordinary course of life and business is a common right which he has under his right to enjoy life and liberty, to acquire and possess property, and to pursue happiness and safety. It includes the right in so doing to use the ordinary and usual conveyances of the day; and under the existing modes of travel includes the right to drive a horse-drawn carriage or wagon thereon, or to operate an automobile thereon, for the usual and ordinary purposes of life and business. It is not a mere privilege, like the privilege of moving a house in the street, operating a business stand in the street, or transporting persons or property for hire along the street, which a city may permit or prohibit at will."
    [Thompson v. Smith, 155 Va. 367,154 SE 579 (1930)]

    "The right to travel is a part of the liberty of which the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment."
    [Kent v. Dulles, 357 U.S. 116, 125 (1958)]

    "The right to travel, to go from place to place as the means of transportation permit, is a natural right subject to the rights of others and to reasonable regulation under law. A restraint imposed by the Government of the United States upon this liberty, therefore, must conform with the provision of the Fifth Amendment that ‘No person shall be * * * deprived of * * * liberty * * * without due process of law’."
    [Schactman v. Dulles, 96 App DC 287, 225 F.2d 938, at 941]

    United States v. Wheeler, 254 U.S. 281
    United States v. Wheeler

    254 U.S. 281


    1. "In all the states, from the beginning down to the establishment of the Articles of Confederation, the citizens possessed the right, inherent in citizens of all free governments, peacefully to dwell within the limits of their respective states, to move at will from place to place therein, and to have free ingress thereto and egress therefrom. A consequent authority resided in the states to forbid and punish violations of this right."


    } noun;
    noun: Ingress; plural noun: Ingresses

    1. T
    he action or fact of going in or entering into a place.

    } noun;
    noun: Regress; plural noun: Regression

    1. T
    he action or fact of returning to a previous State or previously occupied place (location).

    Keeping into consideration the definition of these terms as noted above;

    Article IV. The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different states in this union, the free inhabitants of each of these states, paupers, vagabonds and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several states; AND the people of each state shall have free ingress and regress to and from any other state,

    As you will see here, this Article isn't one compounded statement with a single right being protected, but as noted by the use of the word "AND", the Article goes on as a continuation of the rights that are protected, and thus is naming ADDITIONAL rights. It is not merely rehashing, or reiterating the first right being described, but rather it is going on to list ADDITIONAL rights that are included in this article and protected by the Constitution…. and that right which it further protects, is the right to free, uninhibited, and uncontrolled or taxed right to freely travel from one State to another, and back again.

    In Closing…

    Now, if you still wish to not help me for whatever reason, that is fine. You do have the right to refuse service to anyone, and for any reason. That is called the right to free commerce… free meaning, unregulated (in a tyrannical sense obviously). But I do think it should be noted that there are indeed several hundred case related matters across this country where multiple rulings over the years have been passed down which favor the notion that tolls are indeed taxes, and taxes are in fact a restriction inhibiting the right to free travel. But even that aside, Riverlink being a privately owned company, does not have legal authority to instill a tax upon a free and private citizen, and that is absolutely correct.


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