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RITBA Board to Seek Legislation For Tolls on Mount Hope Bridge

The board also voted to rescind the toll changes, which are effective July 1, should the Rhode Island General Assembly pass legislation in this session that would provide RITBA with “an alternative and sufficient source of revenue.”

Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority board of directors voted today during its monthly board meeting for  as well as a request of the Rhode Island General Assembly to allow RITBA to set toll rates for the Mount Hope Bridge. 

The rates that were approved by the board are  The added revenue, RITBA says, will help pay for the $250 million needed to fund RITBA’s capital projects in the 10-year Renewal and Replacement Plan. 

Importantly, the board also voted to rescind the toll changes on the Pell Bridge, which are effective July 1, should the Rhode Island General Assembly pass legislation in this session that would provide RITBA with “an alternative and sufficient source of revenue.” 

Last month, the board had tabled a vote on a toll increase at the request of R.I. Department of Transportation Director Michael Lewis, who is a voting RITBA board member.  Since that January 18 meeting, the Governor has announced his support for legislation to transfer the ownership of the Sakonnet River Bridge and the Jamestown Verrazano Bridge to RITBA and to toll the former.  The plan also includes the possibility of tolling I-95 at exit 3.

“The two bridges in our care require significant repair and maintenance work to ensure that they remain safe,” said David Darlington, chairman of the board, in a release “We believe it’s important to allow drivers impacted by the new rates a sufficient amount of time to plan their budgets for the new toll structure.   Should the Turnpike and Bridge Authority be mandated to add tolls to other properties and that toll revenue suffices for all the assets in our care, then the tolls on the Newport Pell Bridge will automatically remain at their current levels.”

In October, RITBA held four meetings on Aquidneck Island, gathering opinions from businesses and residents about the feasibility of reinstituting tolls on the Mount Hope Bridge and increasing toll rates on the Newport Pell Bridge. 

Darlington explained that a large contingent of the public support re-tolling the Mount Hope Bridge because they believe that Newport Pell Bridge users unfairly bear the revenue burden and that parity is overdue. 

FYI July 17, 2013 at 09:44 AM
The MAIN REASON tolling Newport County bridges makes all of our blood boil IS because it takes away OUR FREEDOM!!!! Force the state to pay for our bridges in another way!! Having the Sakonnet River Bridge and/or the Mount Hope Bridge tolled takes AWAY our FREEDOM!!! (even the Pell Newport Bridge too) Those at the state level ONLY see $$$ but once they have lost control of Newport County (8% of the state) they WILL lose more than $$$, most likely billions of $$$, they WILL lose Rhode Island!!
FYI July 17, 2013 at 09:44 AM
Yes it IS Economic Discrimination to toll these STATE bridges (“they” PROVED this when “they” needed a STATE PERMIT to built the service building for these tolls!) when only 8% of the states population pays for STATE bridges!! (I hope Portsmouth uses this in court!) (Not to mention the “tour tax” this state placed ONLY on Newport almost 2 yrs ago!) Knowing it IS illegal to toll this bridge and a state bridge, we do not NEED the “Bridge Authority” because NOW the state CAN put up tolls on 195 in East Providence, 95 in Pawtucket, Cranston area, and Connecticut borders!! It is NOT illegal to toll route 4 where there are 3 lanes on either side going to Narragansett!!
FYI July 17, 2013 at 09:46 AM
Tell our state leaders WE WILL NOT LET OUR FREEDOM be TAKEN!!! Force “them” to make laws NOW that prohibit tolls to be placed on Newport County bridges for eternity!! Just remember WE THE PEOPLE ONLY GIVE THE GOVERNMENT AS MUCH POWER AS WE ALLOW!!! If 8% of this state says NO TOLLS mean NO TOLLS even if they are 1¢!!! STOP allowing the state to dictate this tax/toll on Newport County/Rhode Island (Aquidneck Island- The Island’s official name is Rhode Island)!!!
FYI July 17, 2013 at 09:46 AM
Rhode Island (RI) Capital = Newport Providence Plantations (PP) Capital = Providence - 51st state

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