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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 has 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! 

Portsmouth Business Association February 06, 2013 at 12:41 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
Tonsandbunches February 06, 2013 at 12:34 PM
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/contact/ Let's bombard the Federal Highway Administration with as many emails, phone calls, handrwitten letters as possible. Why should they even be involved since its NOT a federal highway?
John February 06, 2013 at 12:43 PM
The people of the northern part of R.I. really dont think much about the tolls because they rearly cross the bridge. But in the long run they will. When Tiverton and Portsmouths businesses start to go out of business then it will effect everyone in the whole state. I know I will do every thing I can do to avoid crossing the bridge and by doing that I will be going into Fall River to spend my money. Who's the winner? Not me or anyone from R.I. This is really bad. How much longer will Rhode Islanders be able to keep digging deep into there pockets to give whats left of there pay check to the state and there town? We are doomed. Time will tell and by then it will be to late!
Bill Clark February 06, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Judging by the material that RIDOT submitted, they could justify tolls on any bridge or highway because of past poor budgeting and maintenance practices. The first assumption, based on locales where tolls were implemented, they state that new tolls will cause some reduction in traffic because people/vehicles will find alternate routes and or drive less. No doubt usually true. Therefore with a reduction in traffic and vehicles miles traveled, they can project treductions in emissions, carbon prints, congestion, polution, air quality, safety, noise, traffic volume. All noted as benefits. All good things. Therefore tolls are not a bad thing. The report has very little reference to the impact to businesses and grossly underplays any negative effect. Appendixes contain the large volume of objections voiced at meetings and written comments submitted, but it appears their take on all that is "residents expressed concern". The summation is that without income from the tolls the new bridge and other area bridges will be impossible to maintain. Thus after poor management by Smith Hill, we have to provide the means to correct the sins of the past and all our future contributions through the gas tax and fees will be used to maintain upstate facilities.

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