More than 100 Newport County residents turned out on Thursday afternoon to fight the General Assembly's efforts to impose tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge.
Rain couldn't put a damper on the sign-weilding spirited residents outside of Clement's Marketplace in Portsmouth on Thursday afternoon. More than 100 residents from towns across Newport County turned out to in opposition to installing tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge. The state General Assembly approved the tolls along with the state budget in June. Residents from both sides of the bridge were greeted by enthusiastic beeps by passing motorists as they braved the rain and tornado warnings to gather on the side of East Main Road from 3-6 p.m. The goal, said the event's organizer Jeanne Smith, was to bring more visibility to plight of Newport County's residents were the tolls to be imposed.
The threat of tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge and the inevitable increasing cost of the morning commute is inspiring residents to action and at least one business to move its shop.
The added cost of commuting to work that the Sakonnet River Bridge toll will add to Tiverton, Little Compton and Aquidneck Island residents is pushing business owners to move their stores closer to home and inspiring residents to fight back. After operating for five years in Portsmouth, a Tiverton woman carted her entire inventory and clientele across the bridge rather than deal with the consequences of the proposed tolls. "There are several reasons why I moved the store, the biggest being the [Sakonnet Bridge] tolls," said Swing during an interview at her store, Natures!, grand opening on Aug. 1. "I just bought a home here on Main Road passed Nanaquaket Pond in February and I wanted to be closer. I wanted to become more involved in my …