2009-03-05 / Editorial

Don't give the Pell Bridge to the Rhode Island's DOT

• EDITORIAL •

Jamestowners should be concerned. There is a bill before the General Assembly that would dissolve the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority. The Newport Claiborne Pell Bridge and the Mount Hope Bridge would then fall under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Transportation.

The state's current budget deficit is surely driving the logic behind such a foolish maneuver. RITBA collects about $12 million in tolls each year. Some legislators probably believe that some of those monies could be diverted and used to help balance the ailing state budget.

But the reality is that RITBA will require an additional $223 million over the next 20 years just to keep the two bridges healthy. There is no surplus. In fact, an increase in the toll will be needed to fund the projected maintenance costs on the two bridges.

We don't want to throw any mud, but the state DOT doesn't have the most stellar track record when it comes to maintaining our state's infrastructure.

Please tell our state legislators that getting rid of RITBA is a really stupid idea.

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