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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26 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.


  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.


  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 ..


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