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Is The Free Ride Over?

A forum at the Burnside Building tonight at 7 addresses concerns over proposed fees for the Mount Hope and Sakonnet River bridges.


Since 1998, Rhode Islanders — especially those on the East Bay — have had the option to get onto Aquidneck Island without paying the tolls the Newport Bridge charges. The free ride could soon be coming to an end and crossing onto the island may soon cost drivers money regardless of the route they take.

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority hopes so. The authority — which already approved raising rates on the Newport Pell Bridge — has proposed adding fees to the Mount Hope and Sakonnet River bridges. The tolls would range from 52 cents to $3.25 each way. The Newport bridge is scheduled to increase from $4 to $5 for cash-paying drivers. Those using an E-Z pass pay less than $1.

to the plan and adding the fees, vowing to fight the proposal in the General Assembly.

Tonight, residents can hear the rationale for the toll proposal and voice their concerns. Rep. Raymond E. Gallison Jr. (Bristol, Portsmouth) has scheduled a meeting for tonight with Michael Lewis, Department of Transportation director, and David Darlington, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Bridge and Turnpike Authority. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Burniside Building, next to Town Hall, 10 Court St.,Bristol.

Gallison and Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Tiverton, Portsmouth) have introduced bills banning tolls on the Mount Hope and Sakonnet River bridges, respectively, and Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. (D-Warren, Bristol, Tiverton) has introduced both bills in the Senate. All have introduced the bills in previous years, but say they are more concerned than ever about discussions the Turnpike and Bridge Authority has been having about creating new tolls.

“We’ve said time and time again that the Turnpike and Bridge Authority isn’t going to hold the people of the East Bay and Aquidneck Island hostage. If they try to put in these tolls, we will fight them tooth and nail on behalf of our constituents,” Gallison has said.

In order for tolls to be established, the authority would need the General Assembly to pass enabling legislation, and the trio of legislators have  said they would vehemently oppose any such bill.

John Coccio May 16, 2012 at 01:20 AM
http://www.autoblog.com/2012/05/03/new-cafe-rules-and-a-stagnant-gas-tax-mean-big-deficits-for-infr/ Mileage tax. It's the way to go, unless you want to see ever increasing tolls and gas taxes.
Jack Baillargeron May 16, 2012 at 04:37 AM
The problem with that to me John, is how do you enforce it, with out falling into a Constitutional quandry. Just can't think of a way to track that usage, without violating rights, not to mention the Orwlls 1984 society andgovernment distrust as high as it is and rightfully so in my opinion, on what exactly it is doing in this country right now. Not trying to be a conspiracy theorist, just that here has been too many stories of late, that we all should be a little more wary of what the heck is happening in my opinion ;-}
John Coccio May 16, 2012 at 12:28 PM
You track it via the inspection system. When you get the car inspected, the mileage is recorded. It's not rocket science, in the sense that it doesn't have to be 100% accurate. As far as mileage driven out of state, you base it on the average miles driven in state. I'd say that you would be more than welcome to try to prove that you travelled less in state to lower the amount you owe, but will it be worth it for $10-15???
Jack Baillargeron May 16, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Not sure on that either John,in this country, they have to prove it not the citizen if you dispute it. Pesty little Innocent until proven guilty lol. In anycase the ACLU will love this I think. You know how government intervention into gettig information about people is a ot topic now on anyting that allows the government to know your habits. Remember the courts just struck down the putting on of a GPS system on cars to follow a criminal well they were investigating him. I will have to look into it futher I guess to get a better handle on it, to make a more informed opinion I guess lol. But also see ripe for corruption by inspectors, easy money is easy money after all ;-}
Jack Baillargeron May 16, 2012 at 01:08 PM
I don’t know john, there is that pesky, innocent until proven guilty rule in the law. I could also see the ACLU jumping on this full force, as anything to do with information on citizens by the government is a hot thing right now. Libertarians will flip about it I am sure. Well it may sound like a reasonable solution; I still think the problem is mismanagement by the State of the funds they get now in taxes. We are taxed to death on property taxes, and no end in sight on what Chaffee wants too and is taxing, that has never been taxed before. 6 percent tax would apply to currently exempt things like, Computer software, prewritten and delivered electronically, Eyeglasses and contact lenses, Insurance proceeds from destroyed or stolen passenger automobile as trade-in allowance, Purchase of newspapers, on prescription drugs, including medical marijuana, Property or supplies used in the processing or preparation of floral products, and 30 more. 1% tax on would apply to currently exempt things like, Clothing and footwear, Coffins, caskets and burial garments, Compressed air, Containers, Dietary supplements, Flags, Heating fuel used residentially, Renewable-energy products, water for residential use, and 51 more. I mean really, burial garments. How about a little fiscal responsibility from the politicians first, before raising anything? ;-} I am fed up with with this cry for more money, because the politicians are morons.

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