Residents call for Sakonnet toll protest

Residents continue to protest against tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge set to take effect Monday, Aug. 19, WPRI reported. More

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Transportation

Residents call for Sakonnet toll protest

COURTESY THE R.I. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
THE R.I. TURNPIKE AND BRIDGE AUTHORITY will begin charging tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge Monday, but residents still oppose the move.
Posted 8/14/13

Updated at 1:13 p.m.

PROVIDENCE – Residents continue to protest against tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge set to take effect Monday, Aug. 19, WPRI reported.

Control of the bridge shifted from the state Department of Transportation to the R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority last fall when the DOT projected that it did not have enough money to maintain the bridge. Last month, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee signed a bill allowing RITBA to charge a 10 cent toll on the bridge.

If tolling – which is being studied by a legislative commission, with result expected early next year – fails to generate enough revenue, the bridge will return to the DOT’s hands. That’s exactly what residents are hoping for, according to WPRI.

Toll opponent John Vitkevitch is asking drivers to refuse to use an E-ZPass.

“Let the R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority mail you a bill. When you get the bill, please pay it promptly by check,” he told the television station. “I want to decrease income and increase their expense, so they have no other condition or position than to put it back to the R.I. Department of Transportation.”

Local residents fear they will accumulate larger bills from the toll than sporadic users and will end up footing the bill for the whole state, WPRI reported.

RITBA has announced it will not send bills to drivers who go cross the bridge without an EZ-Pass transponder, the Associated Press reported. Motorists will instead be expected to submit payment themselves.

Updated to include RITBA announcement regarding EZ-Pass.

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