This Week's Poll

How should the state pay for the maintenance on the four bridges that lead to Aquidneck Island?

Increase toll on the Pell Bridge 8% | 18 votes
Leave toll be on Pell, add toll to Sakonnet Bridge 44% | 101 votes
Put all bridges under DOT, remove all tolls 34% | 79 votes
None of the above 14% | 31 votes
Posted 2/26/12

With the R.I. Department of Transportation registering a significant structural deficit, much of the roadway and bridge maintenance that should be done is being deferred.

As the new Sakonnet River bridge is completed, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee is looking to take that bridge, as well the bridge connecting Jamestown to South Kingstown, out of the DOT portfolio and make them the responsibility of the R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority, which has the power to levy tolls.

One proposal has the Sakonnet River bridge collecting tolls that, in addition to the Pell Bridge tolls, would create a revenue stream large enough to take care of the needs of the four bridges leading to and from Aquidneck Island (the Mt. Hope Bridge is the fourth).

Does this sound like a good plan to you?

5 comments on this story | Add your comment
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Your third choice doesn't seem to actually be an answer at all. Putting it under DOT doesn't remove the need for maintenance resources, it just will call those resources from a difference pot, which may or may not be there when it is needed. "Pay as you go" is usually the only sustainable solution for any problem in this world....

Monday, February 27, 2012 | Report this

All bridges require maintenance; therefore all bridges should have tolls. Newport Bridge users should not be responsible for paying to maintain all of the bridges. To reduce the cost of collections and slow downs at the tolls, only charge the tolls ONE WAY. Anybody leaving the island will eventually have to return. Anyone visiting will eventually have to leave. This is why NY/NJ Port Authority only charges one way and saves money, and the motorist aggravation. Let's get smart, let's be fair. Having DOT take it over is wrong because it makes in-state non-users pay for something they don't use, and out-of-state users get a free pass.

Monday, February 27, 2012 | Report this

WHERE HAS ALL THE MONEY GONE???? WHY DO WE NEED MORE???? The DOT has notoriously been a black hole where money goes in, but nothing ever gets fixed or maintained. WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING THAT WE ALREADY PAY???

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 | Report this

The four major bridges that serve Newport County are among the most expensive on the east coast and will be very difficult and expensive to replace. They must withstand the corrosive effects of salt water and salt air and the freeze/thaw effects of summer and winter swings in temperature. The closure of any of them would cripple the economy of both the county and the state. I grew up in Middletown (but now live in the Boston area) and visit regularly. I have no problem with paying a new toll on the new Sakonnet if it means that it and the other bridges will be adequately maintained for generations to come. Such a toll is a reasonable means to secure that maintenance.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 | Report this

Why do you think the new Sakonnet River bridge is being built? The old one was under the control of DOT and it fell apart. Give all bridges leading to Aquidneck Island to RIBTA and the issue will be handled properly since their revenue cannot be diverted to other needs. They have done a great job with the Pell and Mt Hope bridges and this new scenario will have everyone traveling to the island paying their fair share of tolls. Maintenance on the bridges should not all sit on the shoulders of those driving over the Pell bridge.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 | Report this
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