DOT Seeks Toll Approval from Federal Highway Administration

Despite opposition from local residents, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is taking a step forward in acquiring tolls for the new Sakonnet River Bridge.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has taken a step towards collecting tolls on the new Sakonnet River Bridge, reports The Newport Daily News on Tuesday. 

According to The Newport Daily News' Facebook page, the DOT submitted its application to the Federal Highway Administration to place tolls on the bridge, which spans Portsmouth and Tiverton. 

The move comes nearly two weeks after the Tiverton STOP group and others submitted more than 30,000 signatures from residents opposing the tolls. 

Tolls could be in place as early as this summer, DOT Director Michael Lewis said previously. 

Three state legislators have also introduced legislation which would block the placement of tolls on the new Sakonnet River Bridge. 

Rep. John G. Edwards (D – Dist. 70,  Portsmouth, Tiverton) and Senators Walter S. Felag Jr. and Louis P. DiPalma are sponsoring legislation that would effectively stand in the way of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) placing a toll on the bridge. 

The legislation has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

What do you think about the DOT's submission of the application? Will the Federal Highway Administration approve it? Tell us in the comment section below! 

Tom February 05, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Don't worry folks, I think TCC Cares is going put a stop to the tolls.
Portsmouth Business Association February 06, 2013 at 12:40 AM
Here is the link to the entire report submitted by RIDOT. Each link goes to a pdf file that contains 200+ pages. http://www.commonwealth-eng.com/sakonnet/250_FEIS-R/sakonnet_feis-r_online.html
Jim Flynn February 06, 2013 at 02:47 AM
Will the tolls be in place before the final project including the entrance and exit ramps and all lanes shifts have been completed? The contractor was several months late missing the deadline to open the bridge, and then the governor declares at the ribbon cutting ceremony that they did a great job. Why was there no penalties assessed that were promised to be enforced if there were late? The work on that bridge is very shoddy; driving over it now does it look like a brand new bridge? Where are the entrance ramps that were promised to be "opened in December 2012"? Isn’t it funny that somehow they will be able to get the tolls installed "by the summer", which would end up being the quickest thing they did on this entire project. Why are we paying again for the mis-management of the DOT? How many times do we have to pay for the DOT to screw things up, and then pay for years of mis-management by the RI Turnpike and Bridge Authority? As soon as the DOT puts a toll on the new Providence River Bridge, then we should also put one on the Sakonnet River Bridge. Until then, the DOT needs to stop embarrassing themselves. It is time the RI Bridge and Turnpike Authority is disbanded. Let’s get back to the basics here. A cost of $8 for a round trip to go to Portsmouth from Tiverton isn’t even competitive with anything else you would pay for anywhere. These people are so out of touch with reality.
Rachel Scribbles February 07, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Jim Flynn makes a good point. There are million$ in penalties owed due to the very late opening of the bridge. Use those million$ to maintain the new bridge for a while. And please, don't even think about putting in toll booths before all the surrounding infrastructure is completed. As a MA resident who works in Middletown, a $4 toll each way will cost ME ALONE over $30,000 by the time I retire, snatched right out of my wallet twice per work day. I should get at least a plaque out of that...


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