Toll Proposal Moves Forward for Sakonnet River Bridge - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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Toll Proposal Moves Forward for Sakonnet River Bridge

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis 

mcurtis@abc6.com 

Drivers crossing the new Sakonnet River Bridge could be paying tolls in early July after the Turnpike and Bridge Authority okayed the fees.

Rhode Islanders with E–Z pass will be charged 75 cents...but out–of–state drivers could pay up to 5–dollars 25 center per toll.

Critics say tolls will drive people away.

Portsmouth Town Councilor Molly Donohue Magee said, "It will have a significant negative impact on the communities around the bridge. It will impact our residential our business owners; the workers who come here."

It fact the Town of Portsmouth says it may sue the state, saying there was no environmental impact study for a toll bridge.

Councilor McGee said, "From Portsmouth's position, it's illegal."

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "On Thursday April 25th they'll be a hearing at the State House aimed at overturning the Sakonnet Bridge tolls.

And like other recent controversies here, the building is likely to be packed."

But the Turnpike and Bridge Authority says tolls are needed for maintenance, after all the old Sakonnet Bridge fell into disrepair.

People in Portsmouth say their bridge funding is not being treated like others.

Jim Smith, a Portsmouth resident who is leading the group against the tolls, said, "That way everybody in Rhode Island pays. It's like when the I–Way was built, when the Pawtucket River Bridge was built, all the other bridges that were built. Our tax dollars paid for those as well. And now it's our bridge and we need everyone's taxes to pay for that."

Critics want the General Assembly to remove the tolls, and just put all bridge repair money in the state transportation budget.

 

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