Friday, May 24, 2013
Construction crews are expected to finish installing the toll gantry in Portsmouth on Friday morning.
Commuters traveling from Portsmouth over the Sakonnet River Bridge on Route 24 will drive underneath the tolling gantry for the first time Friday morning - but they won't be charged until this summer. Although construction crews are slated to complete the installation of the tolling infrastructure by early Friday morning, the technology won't be ready to start charging drivers for at least another three to four weeks. "Yes, tonight [Thursday] it will be erected across the roadway and be up by the time people get up tomorrow [Friday] morning, but this doesn't mean it will be operational," said David Darlington, chairman of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority. "By [Friday] morning, it will just be in place. Equipment will still…
Friday, May 10, 2013
The Little Compton Town Council has invited Portsmouth officials to discuss the possibility of joining the town's lawsuit against the RITBA and other players in the Sakonnet River Bridge toll.
Little Compton officials are considering joining a lawsuit against the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority and several other defendants in response to proposed tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge. Portsmouth filed the lawsuit on April 23 in U.S. District Court that accuses RITBA and Michael Lewis, director of the DOT, of violating the Federal-Aid Highway Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Passed in 1969, the act requires government bodies to complete an environmental impact statement before launching projects such as constructing a new bridge. The Portsmouth complaint alleges that RIBTA, Lewis and the Federal Highway Administration did not fulfill this obligation when the initial impact statement on the construction of …
Friday, April 26, 2013
Aquidneck Island residents traveled to Providence Thursday to protest bridge tolls.
Did you go to the rally or hearings at the State House yesterday?
Thursday, April 25, 2013
The federal government approves a plan for tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge.
The Federal Highway Administration has approved a plan to bring tolls to the new Sakonnet River Bridge, announced the Rhode Island Department of Transportation today. The FHWA issued a Revised Record of Decision approving the addition of an All-Electronic Toll Collection for the new Sakonnet Bridge. The RROD concurs with RIDOT’s Final Environmental Impact Statement that the imposition of tolls on the bridge does not create any new significant environmental impacts. According to the DOT, the FHWA recommended the following measures to enhance the overall effects of the addition of tolls to the bridge: Toll collection is expected to begin this summer. RITBA recently approved a toll schedule of $.75 for vehicles with transponders issued …
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Resident Peter Hewett weighs in on the fight against tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge.
Tuesday, April 23
To the Editor: I continue to be strongly opposed to establishing tolls of any amount on the Sakonnet Bridge. Tolling is neither necessary nor reasonable. It is less than a courageous reach for a quick and easy supplemental revenue source by our governor and general assembly and a shirking of their responsibilities to ensure that the Department of Transportation is adequately funded to maintain our state's infrastructure. Nor is there, in my opinion, any compelling reason why the existing tolls on the Pell Bridge need to be increased. In fact, if our elected representatives had the courage to do their jobs honorably, without always seemingly focused myopically on re-election, those tolls could be reduced, which would benefit everyone …
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Local legislators said they would continue efforts to repeal tolling on the Sakonnet River Bridge despite a RITBA decision establishing a toll rate structure today.
East Bay legislators said they are not giving up on efforts to block tolling on the Sakonnet River Bridge following Wednesday's decision by the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority to establish toll rates. Lawmakers and residents from East Bay communities have argued that a toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge could discourage tourists and have significant impacts on the the local economy. "They are using the Sakonnet River Bridge as a cash cow for more than $20 million to be sucked out of our economy in the East Bay to support the [Newport] Pell and Mt. Hope bridges," said Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70 Portsmouth, Tiverton) in response to the the RITBA decision to move forward and establish a tolling rate on the Sakonnet River …
The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority voted to establish tolling rates today the Sakonnet River Bridge.
Tolls are expected to be in place on the Sakonnet River Bridge by July, said the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority chairman after the the board established toll rates this morning. Drivers with a Rhode Island E-Z Pass transponder will pay 75 cents to cross the Sakonnet River. Drivers with out-of-state transponders will pay $3.75 per trip and travelers without an E-Z Pass transponder will be billed $5.25 per trip. "For the first time we will be offering a discount for people driving back and forth more than once a day," said David Darlington, RITBA chairman in an interview after the RITBA meeting in Jamestown on Wednesday. For local drivers, regardless of the number of trips over the Sakonnet River Bridge in a single day, the …
Roger Lord, a member of the Little Compton Taxpayers Association and the STOP Committee writes a letter to the editor.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
The Newport County Chamber of Commerce supports local lawmakers' efforts to find sustainable funding for bridge maintenance other than relying on tolls.
The Board of Directors of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce unanimously voted to support Sen. Louis DiPalma’s bill to freeze tolls on the Newport Bridge and prohibit tolling on the Sakonnet River Bridge. Co-sponsored by senators Teresa Paiva Weed, Walter S. Felag, Christopher S. Ottiano and David Bates, DiPalma’s bill is unique from all other legislation relating to bridge tolling. Senate Bill 0242 not only prohibits tolling on the Sakonnet, Mt. Hope and Jamestown Verrazano bridges but it also freezes tolls on the Newport Pell Bridge. This bill is the first to address the need for a sustainable funding mechanism for bridge maintenance and for state Department of Transportation (DOT) funding, making it the first real opportunity for …
Friday, April 12, 2013
Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) is urging residents to testify before the House Committee on Finance.
Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) is urging residents to testify before the House Committee on Finance later this month on bills that would derail plans to institute tolls on the new Sakonnet River Bridge. The bridge spans Portsmouth and Tiverton; however, many residents in area communities, including Bristol, Middletown and Newport, have expressed concern about the plan. Two bills dealing with bridge tolls are scheduled for a hearing, 2013-H 5137, which is co-sponsored by Representative Canario, and 2013-H 5644. Both would repeal the transfer of authority for the Sakonnet River Bridge and the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge from the Department of Transportation to the RI Bridge and Turnpike Authority. …