Rhode Island General Assembly passed legislation again this year
outlawing tolls or fees on the Sakonnet River Bridge. It now heads
to the governor for approval.
in the 1950s, about 40,000 vehicles cross the state Highway 24 bridge
daily that connects Tiverton to Portsmouth, the Sakonnet Times reported
recently. In need of repair, the state Transportation Department
recommended paying for the work through tolls.
sponsored by Rep. Raymond Gallison Jr., D-Bristol, would specifically
prohibit tolls or fees whether a new bridge is constructed or major
repairs to the existing bridge take place.
legislation would also require General Assembly approval for any
transfer of the bridge to the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority.
I said last year, when the Legislature adopted a ban on turning
the Sakonnet Bridge into a toll bridge, I acknowledge that repairing
or replacing the bridge is a costly and necessary project,"
said Gallison in a statement. "Like last year, I still maintain
that there is no justifiable reason to charge a toll and there is
every reason not to institute a toll because of the negative impact
it could have on tourism and economic development for Aquidneck
said the language in the bill to prohibit the bridge from being
transferred to the Turnpike and Bridge Authority "is to ensure
that the DOT doesn't try an end-around on this issue, absolving
itself of responsibility for care and upkeep of the bridge. If such
a transfer were to occur, there would be no way to prevent the Bridge
Authority from imposing a toll.
the bridge under the authority of the DOT will ensure that work
on the bridge will come from funds allocated to that state department
and not out of the pockets of motorists using the bridge."