2013-04-25 / Letters to the Editor

Tolling Sakonnet span isolates Aquidneck isle

The headline for the Jamestown Press editorial in the April 11 edition read, “Proposed bridge tolls seem fair to motorists.” It claims that proposed tolls “do not appear as onerous as opponents have predicted,” going on to say, “Those who use the bridges should pay for the maintenance through user fees. It’s really quite simple.”

Really quite simple? If you agree with the logic that those who use a bridge should pay for its maintenance, then of course there should be a toll on the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge and the Mount Hope span as well.

According to recent data posted on the state Transportation Department’s website, there are a total of 1,135 bridges in Rhode Island, including 763 that are longer than 20 feet. Of those bridges, 814 are owned by the state.

Tolling the Sakonnet Bridge opens the door for RIDOT to abdicate its responsibility for maintenance of any state-owned bridge and transfer ownership to the bridge authority to toll as they see fit. Follow this “quite simple” logic to its logical application and conclusion, and we should all have to pay as we go for every bridge and thoroughfare on the state and local level.

In fact, tolling the Sakonnet Bridge isolates Aquidneck Island. It also puts as onerous burden on all residents and businesses that contribute to the economic sustainability and commercial viability to the community. Implementation of the toll sets a dangerous precedent that should “quite simply” and logically be applied to any bridge in any community throughout Rhode Island. It’s

really quite simple.
Nancy Howard
Dianne Avenue
Portsmouth

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