2013-08-22 / News

No bills will be sent to drivers without E-ZPass

Motorists crossing the Sakonnet River Bridge without an E-ZPass won’t be billed, the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority decided at its board meeting last week.

Chairman David Darlington said the authority has no plans to send bills to drivers who cross the bridge without a transponder. “It’s their responsibility to pay the toll,” he said.

There is still a toll, he said, and all drivers are obligated to pay it. However, the authority will not make any efforts to collect the 10-cent toll. For the time being, no bills will be mailed out. Also, there will be no video surcharge for scofflaws.

The equipment on the overhead gantry will still record the license plates of cars, and the authority will retain a list of those who have not paid. It is unsure if violators will be billed in the future.

Tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge went into effect Monday at midnight.

Lawmakers decided in July that motorists traversing the Sakonnet span will have to pay 10 cents for each trip they take across the bridge. The resolution for the minimal toll was made July 2 following heated debates in both chambers of the General Assembly. Ultimately, the Senate and House each approved the legislation comfortably.

The authority originally voted in April to toll E-ZPass motorists 75 cents to cross the Sakonnet River Bridge. (The cost without an E-ZPass was $5.25.) To remove some of the burden on motorists, the authority voted on multiple discounts, including a special promotional price for E-ZPass transponders. Pressure from East Bay lawmakers spurred the legislation lowering the toll.

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