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 , and town councils passing resolutions to oppose tolls on the bridge. The councils proposed the resolutions in support of 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 of tolls, and increased tolls, on bridges in the East Bay and Newport County.

Construction of the new $163.7 million bridge and should be expected to open later this year or early 2013.

buz wyman April 19, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Tax the fuel......Oh wait we already do......how about auto tax....oops done......how about if the trucks pay more....darn it that is done also...well>>>>>>>>>> then I guess the only way to pay for it is for a toll which, will not be enough to cover the expenses and we will need to ????????????? WATCH OUT ROME !!
Joe Sousa. April 20, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Privatize RIPTA and put the Gas tax back where it was intended. We don't have a revenue problem. We have a SPENDING problem. We give free and reduced cost bus rides over bridges that can't handle the weight. What a State !
lori craffey April 20, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Where does director Michael Lewis live? I am sure he can not possibly understand the burden he would be placing on the residents of the East Bay area. Why not a toll in another location that would spread the cost to other areas of the state as well. Aquidneck Island business is already put at a disadvantage with tolls on the Newport bridge. Adding a toll to the Sakonnet River Bridge would unfairly add to that disadvantage. All of Newport county should have toll free access to locations such as schools, the County Court House, and Newport Hospital.
Robert E April 20, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Maybe Aquidneck Island, Tiverton and Little Compton should just secede from Rhode Island and join the state of Massachusetts.
Roger Lord April 20, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Right now, to my knowledge, there's only one toll bridge in Rhode Island - the Newport Bridge. The screwball idea of money grubber Michael Lewis is to tax two bridges in Rhode Island - both leading to Aquidneck Island - Newport Bridge and Sakonnet River Bridge. How can that be fair? What happened to all the tax money that has been paid through gasoline sales, transportation bonds, vehicles, etc.? I get it. We need more money for pensions and benefits. I forgot about that. Who cares if tourism and business on Aquidneck Island go to hell in a hand basket.
Musicmaven April 20, 2012 at 09:46 PM
I have an idea put a toll on the I-Way Bridge. Why must we suffer more after enduring the construction on the new Sakonnet River Bridge?
Cranky Yankee April 21, 2012 at 12:06 PM
That has been discussed before. In fact, about 30 years ago, Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket were seriously considering seceeding from Massachusetts and even designed their own flag. It's time to revisit this idea ... with Newport County joining in. And, I'm serious. As long as the General Assembly continues to be dominated by union hacks from Warwick, Cranston, Johnston and North Providence (and this isn't a conflict of interest, how?), Newport County is seen as a bottomless well of tax revenues to feed their unions' insatisable appetites.
Nate April 21, 2012 at 08:13 PM
this can't happen. As a student of Portsmouth High School, but a resident of Little Compton, I do not want to have to pay a toll to go to school, go to friends houses, go to sporting events/school events or whatever reason i need to go on island. and then pay to go home...
FYI April 30, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Michael P. Lewis was named Director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation by Governor Donald L. Carcieri and started work with the agency in mid-March 2008. Director Lewis was an engineer with the Massachusetts Highway Department from 1984 to 1992, when he moved to the Central Artery/Tunnel project. In 1999, HE BECAME a Deputy Project Director for the BIG DIG project, responsible for engineering and construction and for reorganization of the project’s management and leadership. From April 2000 through December 2007, he was Director of the project, part of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. Maybe MA is in debt because of this guy, you know - "The Big Dig"! I like the idea of a toll on the Providence bridge or somewhere on I-95. If the people at the state level are "really" looking for $, wouldn't one of these places make the most sense to put a toll? Oh wait, most of them probably don't live on Aquidneck Island - AKA Rhode Island - and would be personally effected by the toll being put in one of those places. By the way, the state just past a tax in Newport, Oct 1st I believe, for a "tour tax". I think I'll have a dream tonight that there are tolls outside of Mr. Lewis' driveway, so every time he wants to leave or go back to his house, he can pay the fee. Nighty-night.
Tom June 01, 2012 at 12:44 PM
If the idea is to raise revenue, maybe a toll on the new Waterman Street Bridge or a 25 cent toll on the I-Way. Trying to turn Aquidneck Island into Manhattan where you cannot enter without paying a fortune. BTW that $4.00 on Newport Bridge is grossly excessive.
Dylan June 09, 2012 at 04:43 AM
So are they annexing Little Compton and Tiverton to Mass now? since by putting a toll we are cut off from the state and force residents to buy in mass not RI and have RI loose tax dollars, also not to mention kill business in Portsmouth, probably destroy the contract for the Little Compton kids to go to Portsmouth high school and piss off a whole bunch of people.
BD June 09, 2012 at 10:55 AM
The TCC/TC has pretty much made Tiverton the laughing stock of of the region. Until the town council gets thier act together, don't expect anyone else to bail us out.


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