RI budget creates uproar in East Bay

Parts of the budget passed by the Rhode Island General Assembly, Monday night, are creating an uproar in the East Bay. Taxes and bridge tolls will impact people there.

Ann Dupere's dog grooming business will take a double hit from the state budget. She'll have to tax her customers seven percent, and her Tiverton business is just a few miles from the Sakonnet River Bridge, which is now set to be tolled.

“It affects my bottom line,” said Dupere, “It might even affect how many groomers I employ. I might have to lay somebody off.”

Nearly forty percent of Dupere's customers are from across the bridge on Aquidneck Island. She fears they won't come as often.

Because people in Portsmouth, like Paul Paquin, will try to stay on their side of the bridge at least when they have a choice. Unfortunately for Paquin, he has to get off the island for work sometimes up to five times a day.

“The Mount Hope Bridge is looking pretty good right now,” said Paquin, “I'm sure there's going to be more traffic because everybody is going to have the same idea. Needless to say, if I'm up against the gun, I'm going over the Sakonnet River Bridge and basically it's going to cost every time I go over.”

Not everyone is against the tolls though, Ray Fougere of Tiverton thinks they're actually a good idea.

“It just seems like the big projects, the special projects, the expensive projects should be paid by the users who use them and that is tolls,” said Fougere.

He's talking about the 164-million dollars the Rhode Island DOT has spent on replacing the bridge. The new bridge should be finished next year.