2008-09-11 / Editorial


Got E-Z Pass questions? Go to the public hearing

There has been much confusion and misinformation about the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority's proposal to convert the Pell Bridge toll system to E-Z Pass.

RITBA will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. at the Goat Island Hyatt Regency in Newport.

RITBA Chairman David Darlington this week said the E-Z Pass plan must be approved by the board of the directors who will meet on Sept. 24.

Here's the proposal as I understand it, as outlined for me this week by Darlington:

• There is no rate increase for local users. The E-Z Pass rate will be based on the current local bulk token rate achieved when you purchase 60 tokens for $50 (about 83 cents per token).

• Local users will need to purchase E-Z Pass transponders. The transponders will cost RITBA $20.93 each. RITBA will add $5 for handling, so the consumer cost will be $26.93 each. You will need one per vehicle.

• Cash customers will still pay the same rate of $2 per axle.

• Future bridge maintenance expenses will be addressed at a later date. Any proposed rate increase on the Pell Bridge toll, or putting a toll on the Mt. Hope Bridge, will be taken up by the RITBA board this fall.

If you've got questions, go to the public hearing. I believe the E-Z Pass proposal makes sense. The E-Z Pass system is used throughout New England on toll roads and bridges. It's time we put the system to work here on the Pell Bridge.

— Jeff McDonough

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