Bills to be sent out to drivers who didn’t pay Sakonnet tolls

By: Melissa Randall

Twitter: @MelissaARandall

20 thousand cars cross the Sakonnet River bridge everyday, but not everyone is chipping in for the10 cent tolls. Drivers without EZ Pass transponders coughed up less than $50 in voluntary payments since the tolls began in August.

“I didn't know how to pay top pay it, so I haven't,” admitted Newport resident Ed Gunderson.

That will no longer be an excuse. Wednesday morning the RI Turnpike and Bridge authority approve a plan to send out paper bills for money owed.

“Anyone who accumulates more than twenty-five passages over the bridge, we're going to start sending them an invoice for those charges. That makes it about $2.50,” said David Darlington of the Authority.

State officials are combing through tens of thousands of license plate images taken on the bridge to see who owes what. They say 60% of drivers were charged automatically via EZ Pass. 20% are among those who haven't paid, and the remaining 20% have accounts, but for some reason their transponder didn't work correctly.

“That's why we have them put their license plate on there so when we see the image, we can match it to the plate and then charge the account,” said Darlington.

Drivers who haven't crossed twenty-five times yet won't be sought out for their 10 cents, at least for now.

“That works for me.  I probably won't reach that number anyways,” said Gunderson. “Seems like an odd system.”

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