Commuters of both bridges should pay
As a resident of Jamestown, I expect to pay my fair share to commute to work in Newport via the Pell Bridge. It’s a cost that I accept to live on an island and enjoy the quality of life in Jamestown.
I understand the maintenance challenges and the associated costs the RITBA faces to keep these structures in top condition. I have read and reviewed the forecast plan by their consultants and, for the most part, accept their projected cost figures for future maintenance as factual. For the record, I think the RITBA is a well-managed organization that has a strong track record of maintaining both the Pell and Mount Hope bridges. That’s a lot more than I can say about most of the roads and bridges in Rhode Island.
In my 22 years of crossing the Pell Bridge I have always found their staff to be courte- ous, professional and helpful to residents and visitors alike. With all that said, I do take issue with the concept of raising the toll on the Pell Bridge without a toll first being reinstituted on the Mount Hope Bridge.
Hypothetically, if the RITBA managed two ferries operating to and from Aquidneck Island do you think they would charge for one ferry and not the other? I don’t think so. It is a deeply flawed management plan for many reasons. In my opinion, the RITBA should charge tolls on both bridges to capture the revenue necessary to maintain these two bridges respectively.
It simply is not fair to ask those of us who use the Pell Bridge on a daily basis to cover the costs of maintaining both bridges without those who use the Mount Hope Bridge contributing their fair share. We should all pay our fair share.