Voters in the New Orleans area will cast ballots on Election Day covering national and local offices and issues. One issue of interest addresses the future of toll collection on the Crescent City Connection.
Ballots in Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes will ask voters whether the collection of tolls to access the U.S. 90 crossing should be extended for 20 years. Toll collection on the nation’s fifth-busiest bridge is scheduled to end Dec, 31, 2012.
Cash tolls are $1 for motorists and $2.50 for most trucks. Toll-tag users pay 40 cents and $1, respectively. The tolls generate about $21 million annually.
Toll supporters say the region’s economy would be hindered if residents had to rely on government to pay for bridge maintenance.
Opponents say the tolls are an unfair tax. Specifically, it is a hardship for people who live or work on the West Bank.
State figures show that West Bank drivers accounted for about three times as much toll revenue as users from the east.
Critics also point out that the second span will be paid off by the end of the year, and they want the tolls removed as promised. In addition, they say that toll collection on the bridge creates traffic jams every day.
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