Sakonnet River Bridge 'Best Candidate' For Tolls, Says DOT Director
Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Michael P. Lewis says Gov. Lincoln Chafee's budget proposal calls to hand the Sakonnet River Bridge to the Rhode Island Bridge and Turnpike Authority.
Lack of funds and options for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation to generate new revenue is a reason Director Michael P. Lewis pushes for tolls on the new Sakonnet River Bridge. He went into detail about the situation with East Bay Newspapers.
The stance comes at the heels of the Tiverton, Portsmouth and Little Compton town councils passing resolutions to oppose tolls on the bridge. The councils proposed the resolutions in support of legislation from local elected officials to prohibit tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge. Lewis said Gov. Lincoln Chafee's fiscal 2012-13 budget proposal calls to transfer ownership of the Sakonnet Rvier Bridge to the Rhode Island Bridge and Turnpike Authority.
Area residents, too, have opposed the idea of tolls, and increased tolls, on bridges in the East Bay and Newport County.
Construction of the new $163.7 million bridge has hit delays and should be expected to open later this year or early 2013.