The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has approved the Sakonnet River Bridge toll proposal on Wednesday.
The FHWA approved the plan agreeing with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation's final environmental impact statement with making the following recommendations:
Monitor traffic diversion once tolls are implemented for a period of five years and provide an annual report on traffic volumes, estimated diversion rates and effects on low-income and minority communities;
Develop a process to mitigate impacts of the toll to the Little Compton School
Department which buses students over the bridge to Portsmouth High School; and
Require a fare structure that addresses the accumulated cost of repeated, daily trips over the bridge.
The toll rate for in-state vehicles with transponders will be seventy-five cents. Local residents who use the bridge often will only be charged the fee one time daily. Out of State drivers will face a toll of $5.25.
Citizens of Aquidneck Island say they intend to challenge the proposal in court. Tomorrow a bill to repeal the tolls will be heard by the House Finance Committee at 1 p.m.