LETTER: Tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge and Questions For DOT Director

Tiverton resident Roger A. Bennis writes a letter to the editor and demands answers from DOT Director Michael P. Lewis.

To the Editor:

I am writing an open letter to DOT Director Lewis, with a request to clarify statements made on 03/26/12, (by DOTDirector Michael P. Lewis) and reported in a Newport Daily News article, “DOT director: Toll needed on new bridge” on 03/27/12.

The article stated: “Tolls from the Pell Bridge and the new Sakonnet Bridge would be dedicated to repairs of all four Newport County spans with about $10 million to $15 million a year reserved for other East Bay road and bridgeprojects, Lewis said. That would ensure local infrastructure projects do not have to compete for finite state resources,he said.”

QUESTION 1: Does the above statement indicate that the tolls from the Newport Bridge and the proposed SakonnetBridge toll would support the maintenance and repair of the Newport, Bridge, the Sakonnet Bridge, the JamestownBridge, and the Mount Hope Bridge, plus $10 million to $15 million from the tolls would be reserved for maintenanceand repair of all East Bay (Newport County and Bristol County) bridges and roads?

QUESTION 2: Does the statement above ‘That would ensure local infrastructure projects do not have to compete forfinite state resources, he said.’ indicate that the reason that East Bay projects would not have to compete for resourcesis because all the East Bay bridge and road funding would be from the tolls, and none of the funding would come fromthe RI DOT via the RI gas tax, or the RI DOT funding, or the RI funding received from the Federal Government for RIroad and bridge projects?

QUESTION 3: Does the above statement indicate that it is the intent of the DOT to transfer all DOT bridge and roadfunding (other than the tolls from the Newport and Sakonnet Bridges) from the East Bay to the remainder of the State,if and when the Sakonnet Bridge starts collecting tolls? 

QUESTION 4: Does the above statement indicate that after the $10 million to $15 million a year re served for otherEast Bay road and bridge projects, any money left from the Newport County tolls could be used to supplement themoney for bridges and roads across the remainder of the State?

QUESTION 5: Do you believe that it is fair, moral, and legal to transfer bridge and road funding from the East Bay tothe remainder of the state, when the money is derived from the RI gas tax, the RI income and sales tax, other RI taxesand fees, and from the Federal give back of federal taxes to RI for bridges and roads?Wouldn’t that be the same as using the toll money to supplement the entire RI DOT budget for the entire State of RI, atthe expense of the East Bay? 


Roger A. Bennis

Tiverton Resident

Tom October 04, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Jim L October 04, 2012 at 09:08 PM
and the answer is NO TOLLS, NO TOLLS NO Tolls, review all of the above to see how the GA is treating us like chumps. When the tolls suck the jobs from the Feds and tourists of the island the one's way for them to go is after the boating industry and higher tolls for residents, Stand up and FIGHT use your voice, use your pen, use your vote, If we don't change things THIS WILL HAPPEN, and it will be on you all of us, our kids and their kids, remember WHO voted for this
Tom October 04, 2012 at 10:17 PM
I agree Jim, it's not the message, just the messenger!
KSilvia October 04, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Jim L October 04, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Brendon Doherty will be at the Bridge opening tomorrow morning I urge anyone who wants to help stop this come and show your support, Stop and donttoll can use any help from any where, please come, let the Ga and the Governor no that We stand united about this
Jim L October 05, 2012 at 01:47 AM
hell hate all you want , I don't care! your a zero in my life like i am in yours, BUT the Tolls bag both our family's, thats all that matters, it effects your life, your kids, your grand children, this is not Tiverton or TCC T1/curb Middletown ,Portsmouth, in fighting about local stuff, it's the entire Newport county economy, It's everything from Clam chowda contest' america's cup races to Tiverton Jr basketball, so if you can't help just step out of the way or leave your personnal insults on the Tiverton town site, don't come here to damage me and damage us all. Is that to much to ask?
TIger October 05, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Another great letter from Colonel Sanders!!
Tom October 05, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Hey TIger have you verified Mr. Katz Math.
TIger October 05, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Katzhole math is very tricky. You manipulate the numbers to make your case hoping everyone else is dumber than you are. It is the old saying "Figures don't lie, liers figure".
Jim L October 05, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Tiger lets talk about your comment to fix the FTR so only the budget commitee can put up a budget, you just another unknown sad person trying to throw insults, you and T1/curb guys are good at that
Jim L October 05, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Do the numbers give the proof, duck and cover, it what T1 does
Just Another Taxpayer October 05, 2012 at 09:05 PM
The Budget Committee puts forward the only vetted budget for voters to approve or disapprove. It is that simple.
Tivertontaxpayer1 October 11, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Joe-Are you positive on those email addresses? Might they be crimeboss@yahoo.com or notorious@yahoo.com?
Jim L October 11, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Joe Sousa, Stop and donttoll are drafting a letter to go to business owners and private citizens alike , It will have a list of reasons to stop tolls and a place for personal comments, One of the main reasons behind this is because many of the small business owners I talk to in Newport are against the tolls but will not except a petition for fear of loseing local business. To me that is more than understandable and this approach will allow NO TOLLS no expand further , I we, they us them, you can see down the road what this will do to Newport county, from killing the Tiverton indy park to removing vital dollars from local small places to major job effects, We must all put local politics aside and fight state politics that are at fault on this, If we as citizens cannot allow this to take place on our children and theirs ,they will be paying tolls for years to come, and to who? Not the State! not the DOT, but a semi private company, but they say the money will fix OUR bridges and OUR roads, But i have never seen the Turnpike and Bridge folks paving a road, fixing a catch basin, plowing a major road, hows that going to work? Another question that will get a big "WE DON"T KNOW" from upstate NO TOLLS
dick sherman October 21, 2012 at 02:02 PM
The answer is simple folks. When the toll opens everyone go through without paying.. Let them try handling 32,000 people a day not paying in court. Dick
Robert E October 21, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Dick you do realize that there will be no toll booth and toll takers don't you. Its called open road tolling it records your license plate and they send you a bill. Try not paying and see how long it takes the state to suspend your registration.
Jim L October 21, 2012 at 03:50 PM
They were talking about 5 or 6 infractions, latest I heard is that your registraction will be suspended 1 month after ticket is mailed


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