RITBA announces two additional hearings
Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority has added two additional public hearings this month to continue its conversation with the public about its revenue needs and tolling options.
The combined debt service, operations, maintenance, and capital improvement requirement needs of the two bridges for the next 10 years is projected to be $432 million. RITBA’s sole revenue source is Newport Pell Bridge tolls.
“For a number of years, RITBA’s board has engaged with the public about the need to provide a suffi- cient level of funding to maintain the safety of the bridges,” said David Darlington, chairman of the RITBA board. “We believe these two bridges are the safest in the state, and the consequences for delaying or ignoring their maintenance needs will be dire. The costs to maintain the structures continue to increase, and we need to raise funds to meet those needs.”
The meetings will be held at 7 p.m. on the following dates and at the following locations: Monday, Oct. 17, at the Jamestown Philomenian Library; and Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the Newport Marriott, 1 America’s Cup Avenue, Newport. Free parking is available in Newport at the Gateway Parking Lot next to the hotel.
“At the public’s request in 2009, RITBA conducted a formal study of the feasibility of reinstituting tolls on the Mount Hope Bridge,” said Darlington. “We are providing a forum for motorists to express their opinions about the report. If re-tolling the Mount Hope Bridge is not a practical solution to meeting our revenue needs, then the size of the next increase of the Pell Bridge toll will be larger than if RITBA can toll the Mount Hope Bridge.”