Decision on Tolls Delayed as Authority Looks for Alternatives

The controversial proposal to raise tolls on the Newport/Pell Bridge and reinstitute them on the Mount Hope Bridge was tabled. Members of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority want more time to consider other ways of raising the $250 million they need.

“We want to know how we can, in an equitable way, cover the transportation needs for this state that are so important to the economy of this state, but in a way that doesn't overburden one particular group,” Michael Lewis of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation said.

One of the possible solutions is putting a toll on Route 95 near the Connecticut border.

“There are a lot of people from other states driving through everyday and they don't put anything into our infrastructure,” Lewis said.

But truck drivers like Bob Nelson say even a small toll will end up costing a lot.

“Some are $8 and $10. The bridges are like $30,” Nelson said. “I'm sure it adds up to thousands over the year.”

While driving across the country, Nelson says he has noticed more and more states tolling roads to raise money. It is a trend he says will cost everybody more money, not just drivers.

“I know the state is trying to make money any way they can,” Nelson said. “But any increase will make the product cost more, and it will ultimately come back to the consumer.”