RITBA head mulls returning bridges
The state bridge authority said if it is unable to increase and collect tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge, it will return both the Sakonnet and Jamestown spans to the state Department of Transportation.
David Darlington, chairman of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority, told the Providence Journal the contract between the state and his firm has a provision saying if a revenue source can’t be found to fund the four-bridge system, it can return the bridges to the state.
The Department of Transportation has already said it doesn’t have the funds to maintain the two spans. The bridge authority would still own the Newport and Mount Hope bridges if it returned the other two.
Following a rash decision by the General Assembly at the 11th hour of its 2013 session, a 10-cent toll was instituted on the Sakonnet River Bridge. The decision to institute the token toll was because if no toll was imposed, federal law could prevent any in the future. The 10-cent toll allows for future increases.