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Letter: Tolls Are A Barrier To Economic Growth

Sen. Walter Felag writes a letter to the editor.

To the editor:

As another legislative session ends, the General Assembly erred in their , which will probably be erected late next summer, 2013. I voted for a floor amendment to eliminate this budget article from the budget and against the final FY13 budget which included the Sakonnet River bridge toll.

For the past 14 years as your State Senator, I have fought diligently against tolls on the Mt Hope and Sakonnet River Bridge. Unfortunately, our local East Bay Representatives and Senators were outnumbered.

In my speech on the Senate floor last night, I spoke about this unfair tax on my Tiverton constituents, who go over the bridge for work, appointments and family obligations. This toll is a barrier for all East Bay residents. Make no mistake; this is a tax on the East Bay residents. The East Bay residents pay enough taxes without a toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge. This burden should be shared with all residents of RI. Thank you to all who e-mailed or called regarding your objections.

Residents will be taxed at additional $50 to $60 because they will need an E-Zpass transponder to stay in RI ($20.95 interior or $33.04 exterior) plus maintain a $25 minimum prepaid toll amount.

RIDOT has not even initiated or completed an economic impact statement on how this toll will affect businesses in RI. We are putting the cart before the horse. How will this effect tourism in Newport and East Bay businesses? What is the traffic impact through Bristol/ Warren Route 136 for those individuals avoiding the tolls?

This toll idea needs a through comprehensive economic impact study before implementation and the governor should eliminate this toll.

Walter S. Felag, Jr.
RI State Senator, District 10
Tiverton, Warren & Bristol

RI Politics June 12, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Something NEEDS to be done about this. Its unreal. The GA members that voted for this are clueless as to the impact. Amazing.
Roger Lord June 12, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Senator Felag's letter is appreciated. So are the efforts of Sen. DiPalma and any others who may have tried to stop this screw job on East Bay. But here's the real question: Which way did the vote on the final bill? Hmmmmmmmm?
Toni L Ellis June 12, 2012 at 05:10 PM
It is unfair and we do pay enough tax in Tiverton as well as pay for our own garbage removal. Guess my business will go to Dartmouth. If the state kept up with road and bridge maintenance we wouldn't need a new bridge! I see at least 2 18 wheeler's getting ticketed a week during my commute....where are those 7k fines going? Certainly not in the maintenance fund!
David June 12, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Gov Chafee is NOT a leader at all. He is more interested in "making the tough decisions" rather than getting on a soap box and calling out the general assembly to stop wasteful spending. He is nothing but a sheep! It truly amazes me how stupid the government in this state is.
David June 12, 2012 at 06:32 PM
I WILL NOT vote for an incumbant this fall. Period! We need fresh people every few years. They should make the GA similar to jury duty - everyone gets a turn by lottery. That way the chances of big enough groups of "special interests" being in the GA at the same time would be slim to none. Do you think the current GA will have the GUTS to put themselves on term limits or do a lottery GA? Nope. Then they wouldn't be able to get money from lobbyists and wine and dine themselves. We need a petition started ASAP.
Joe Sousa. June 12, 2012 at 06:54 PM
If the east bay delegation had been pushing to fund the DOT for the last twenty years we wouldn't need a new bridge. The Democrats have not only let this part of the state down . They don't feel responsible at all. The fact is we need a change in representation .
Rug Doctor June 12, 2012 at 11:51 PM
I will now buy more items in Ma and not purchase anything in RI. The people on the other side of the state could care less about us and our toll. They do not have to pay it!!!!
Roger Lord June 13, 2012 at 01:18 AM
David has the right idea - do not vote for any incumbents regardless of political party. The gang we have now are ineffective except where more pensions and benefits are concerned. They bat 1000 on that. The state is hurting, businesses are hurting, and the taxpayers are hurting. So what's the General Assembly's approach? Tax the living crap out of everybody in order to maintain wasteful spending and union handouts. Let them eat cake. Yes, David, we need fresh blood in the General Assembly. Unfortunately, and I hate to say it, the average Rhode Island voter is so incredibly stupid, we shall contnue down our death spiral.
Joe Sousa. June 13, 2012 at 01:48 AM
We have to see who's running first. People need to get informed ,and involved . This is our State . Why are we allowing the Legislature to ruin it ? Jobs and Friends Both seem to be leaving our State.
RI Teabagger June 13, 2012 at 10:59 AM
Don't blame me, I voted for Dan Gordon!
Susan June 13, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Those people don't care.......they have this half of the state footing the bill for the whole state. You want to make some $$$$? Put a toll on the Washington Bridge. How about that? We already know the answer to that.....never going to happen because those jackasses might get stuck having to pay it then. It doesn't hurt so much when you're not the one paying it does it? They suck.
Joe Sousa. June 13, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I voted for Robitaille
Robert Boucher June 14, 2012 at 12:12 PM
I always felt that if you wanted to be intellectually honest, if you wanted to toll a road or bridge, you should make 95 just like the NJ Turnpike....they don't have the stones to do anything like that. It's just NIMBYism at it's best/worst. Just for the record I already paid/paying for the bridges and roads......I don't need to pay anymore thank you. All this should be part of the budget, it's that simple.
Ralph Doliber June 15, 2012 at 04:33 AM
How you chafe me Chafee! My goal is to never ever cross that bridge under engine-power once they install the troll. MTBike and running across only, thankya guv'nr! Question: Is the Sate of RI running this little snap n' send toll-bill scam OR will it be out-sourced to some out-of-state "for profit" entity?
Dan D June 15, 2012 at 12:10 PM
EZ pass is already an out of state for profit entity.
Ralph Doliber June 29, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Thank you, Dan D.
Tom August 07, 2012 at 01:23 PM
If the collective East Bay legislative delegation does not have enough clout to stop the turning of Aquidneck Island into Manhattan, why do we need so many? If we had fewer delegates, wouldn't they be equally ineffective? Rhode Island has 113 state legislators, 75 in the House and 38 in the Senate. California has 120!!, 80 in the House and 40 in the Senate. Maybe we could save some money by cutting back on the legislature?

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