Rep. Raymond Gallison (Dist. 69, Bristol and Portsmouth) said the fight against bridge tolls is "certainly not over" and more workshops should be held.
The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority will hold two bridge toll workshops this Saturday at the Roger Williams University Conference Center. The first workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to noon. The second workshop will be held from 1 to 3 p.m.
Gallison released the following statement on Wednesday in response to the workshops being scheduled.
Chairman Dalington can say that Saturday's workshops may be the only opportunity for East Bay, Aquidneck Island and Southcoast residents to comment on the toll rates but he doesn't set the policies and laws for the State of Rhode Island that is the responsibilities of General Assembly.
Governor Chafee appoints the members of the RITBA and I call upon him to give the citizens in this are more than one opportunity to comment on the toll rates. I ask him to require that the RITBA have at least two more meetings, one in Portsmouth and one in Tiverton and on a weekday evening.
If we enact legislation to mandate more hearings then the RIBTA will have to conduct more hearings. I intend to introduce such a bill.
Also, the House of Representatives has not yet conducted any hearings on the various pieces of legislation aimed at prohibiting tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge so the issue is far from over and I for one will not stop fighting the proposed tolls.
It wasn't to long ago I joined with many officials and citizens from the area to stop the LNG facility proposed for Fall River and we were successful in defeating that proposal. I strongly believe we can be just as effective in stopping the tolls.
In 2012, the budget article that transferred authority of the Sakonnet River Bridge passed by just 14 votes. This year the legislation to undo that transfer is not part of the budget so all we need is 38 votes to stop the transfer and the tolls.
The fight is certainly not over.
Raymond E. Gallison, Jr.
Representative - District 69 (Bristol and Portsmouth)
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