Pell Toll Hike Approved, More Bridge Tolls Could Come

Starting July 1st, crossing the Pell Bridge in Newport will increase from $4 to $5 for out-of-staters and cash payers. It will go up from 83 cents to $1 for Rhode Islanders with an E-Z Pass.

However, the Turnpike and Bridge Authority says all of this could change if they get permission to put tolls on other bridges instead.

“We're going to ask the General Assembly for the Authority to be able to set tolls on the Mount Hope Bridge,” Chairman David Darlington said. “If we are successful, then we could adjust downward the rates on the Pell Bridge.”

The alternatives on the table are tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge or the Mount Hope. Waiting for the decision has business owners worried.

“Putting more tolls up or adding tolls on just in general, is a tricky situation. Especially with the economic climate we're in,” Paul Mancieri, owner of Leo's Ristorante in Bristol said.

Paul's restaurant is roughly 2 miles from the Mount Hope Bridge. He says putting a toll would kill business on Hope Street.

“It could be that there's not enough traffic going between the bridges, not enough business coming in – business that we rely on,” Mancieri said.

The Authority needs permission from the General Assembly to put tolls on either bridge. They are also looking into the possibility of putting a toll on 95 near the Connecticut border.